From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Following the continuous catastrophe caused by COVID-19 pandemic in India, Brazil and Turkey, Nigeria has announced new travel advisory which kicks off from Monday, May 4th concerning international flights coming from these countries.
According Johns Hopkins University’s released data on Sunday, current global caseload and death toll stood at 151,774,770 and 3,188,331, respectively.
Brazil records 406,437 fatalities, India 211,853, while Turkey has recorded 4,849,408 cases, it crossed the 40,000 fatalities.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee (PSC), on COVID-19 Boss Mustapha, while reiterating the need for Nigerians not to drop the ball as regards maintaining the non-pharmaceutical measures protocols, said that anyone who has been in these three countries within 14 days of their intended arrival date in Nigeria will be banned from entering the country.
He however, clarified in a statement seen by Daily Sun, that this regulation, does not apply to passengers who transited through these countries.
“The following measures shall apply to airlines and passengers who fail to comply with I and II(a) above:
i Airlines shall mandatorily pay a penalty of $3,500 (Three Thousand Five Hundred dollars) for each defaulting passenger.
ii. Non-Nigerians will be denied entry and returned to the country of embarkation at cost to the Airline.
“Nigerians and those with permanent resident permit shall undergo seven days of mandatory quarantine in a Government approved facility at the point-of-entry city and at cost to the passenger. The following condition shall apply to such passengers:
i. Within 24 hours of arrival shall take a COVID-19 PCR test
ii. If positive, the passenger shall be admitted within a government-approved treatment centre, in line with National treatment protocols.
iii. If negative, the passenger shall continue to remain in quarantine and made to undergo a repeat PCR test on day seven of their quarantine.
“Passenger(s) arriving in Nigeria from other destinations. Must observe a seven day self-isolation at their final destination.
Carry out a COVID-19 PCR test on day 7 at selected laboratory. Shall be monitored for compliance to isolation protocol by appropriate authorities,” he said.
Mustapha further reiterated that passengers who present false or misleading contact information would be liable to prosecution.
“Person who willfully disregard or refuse to comply with directions of Port-Health staff, security agencies or evade quarantine shall be prosecuted in accordance with the law,” he said.
The PSC Chairman said that state Governments were required to ensure that all returning travelers from all countries were monitored to ensure adherence to the mandatory seven-day self-isolation period and the repeat COVID-19 PCR test on the seventh day after arrival.
He stated that this travel advisory shall come into effect from May 4 day 2021.
Mustapha noted that the guidelines were subject to review after an initial period of four weeks.
According to him, over the last few weeks we have been monitoring with concern, the increasing trend of COVID-19 cases in several countries, with additional focus on countries with high incidence, fatality rate and widespread prevalence of variants of concern.
“The Government of Nigeria deeply empathizes with the citizens and governments of these countries, and assures them of our commitment, unflinching support and solidarity at this time of need.
“In our effort to continue to safeguard the health of the Nigerian population, as well as to minimize the risk of a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, the PSC carried out a risk assessment of countries with high incidence of cases. The risk assessment took into consideration the epidemiology of cases, prevalence of variants of concern and average passenger volume between Nigeria and each country amongst other indicators,”he explained.
The SGF said that these precautionary measures were a necessary step to minimize the risk of a surge in COVID-19 cases introduced to Nigeria from other countries, while national response activities continue.
Mustpha, advised Nigerians a to avoid any non-essential international travels to any country at this period and specifically to countries that were showing rising number of cases and deaths.