FG Relaxes Policy on Yellow Card for Inbound Passengers

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Chinedu Eze

The federal government has relaxed the policy that makes it compulsory for passengers travelling into the country to have their International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP), known as yellow card.

Under the new arrangement, the government has directed airlines to airlift travellers who do not possess the cards with a caveat that they must be vaccinated on arrival.

The federal government’s new position may have followed reports that many inbound passengers without the travel document were barred from boarding flights to Nigeria, leaving many of them stranded at different airports, especially the Heathrow in London.

In a circular issued to this effect by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) yesterday with Reference Number: NCAA/DG/AMS/74/VOL.111/65 and signed by the General Manager, Aeromedical Standards, Dr. WT Haggai on behalf of the director general, the agency said passengers coming to Nigeria without documented proof of vaccination, which is the yellow card, should be allowed to board the fight but be “advised they will be vaccinated accordingly at points of entry.”

NCAA said the process of obtaining the yellow card must also be initiated on arrival.

For passengers leaving Nigeria, NCAA said a valid yellow card would be required for boarding, insisting that airlines must communicate this policy to their passengers accordingly, adding that this policy took effect from yesterday, March 11, 2020.

NCAA explained that the circular was in response to a letter from the Ministry of Health reviewing the “implementation of the operationalisation of Nigeria point of entry policy on the prevention and control of cross border transmission of yellow fever.

“I have been directed by the Director General to inform airlines operating regional and international flights into and out of Nigeria to implement the reviewed policy of the Federal Ministry of Health,” the circular said.

The regulatory authority explained that the review of the policy had arisen because of the competing priority of the “ongoing entry screening at our points of entry by the Port Health Services of the COVID-19.”

It noted that the entry screening of the passengers due to the COVID-19 outbreak would be prioritised by the Port Health Services “until the outbreak has been effectively contained.”