The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has announced that it would harmonise all preventive measures deployed by port health and other members of the medical teams at the airports in the country.
The regulatory authority noted that following the first recorded confirmed case of COVID-19 on 27th February 2020, of an Italian traveling from Milan who came in through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on Monday, February 24 2020, the Federal Ministry of Health, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Lagos State Ministry of Health, and Ogun State Ministry of Health have swiftly responded to ensure there is no further spread of the disease.
In a statement signed by the Director General of NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu, the agency said that in line with the guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA) has been working with the Federal Ministry of Health, and other stakeholders in the aviation industry to ensure all travellers coming into the country are adequately screened while causing minimum disruption to facilitation of travel.
“NCAA will continue to ensure that airlines assist with the tracking of passengers who may have come in contact with suspect or ill persons as well as other measures the National Surveillance Systems requires,” Nuhu said.
The statement disclosed that all contingency plans for public health events in aviation have been activated including airport-specific Public Health Emergency Contingency Plans (PHECPs), adding that NCAA has ensured that all measures adopted at Nigerian airports are in accordance to ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and WHO International Health Regulations (IHR 2005).
“Airlines and other airport users are advised to heed the guidance of Port Health Services (a division of the Federal Ministry of Health and Competent Public Health Authority at Point of Entry) on the use of screening forms, assessment of suspect or ill travellers and any other measures they may adopt. Airlines, airport operators, security agencies and other aviation industry stakeholders are advised to take appropriate precaution to protect their staff.
“We advise the travelling public to remain calm but alert and take necessary precaution in protecting themselves while traveling, including alerting crew members and airport facilitation staff to travellers that may look ill or showing signs and symptoms of the disease.
“Travellers returning from countries experiencing community transmission of the COVID-19 should present themselves to Port Health Services on arrival at the Point of Entry – International Airport. Travellers who develop signs and symptoms of the disease after returning from a trip abroad are to seek immediate medical attention at the nearest Health facility or call the NCDC on 0800-970000-10,” the statement also said.
The agency said it is committed to the safety of travellers and Nigeria’s national health security and would continue to do all that is necessary to ensure both.