COVID-19: Erring Airlines Face $3,500 Fine Per Passenger

  • Begins implementing provisional quarantine protocol

Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The federal government yesterday disclosed that it would fine any international airline that operated in contravention to its provisional quarantine protocol a sum of $3,500 per passenger.

The apex government, also, disclosed that the protocol for passengers arriving into the country effectively came into play from Saturday with the reopening of the country’s international airspace.

This was contained in the protocol, which the Chairman of Presidential Task Force on COVID -19, Boss Mustapha with an emphasis that the public health measures are applicable to all passengers entering or leaving Nigeria during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The protocol revealed that airlines would be fined $3,500 per passenger for failure to comply with the pre-boarding requirements.

Although Nigerians aboard such aircraft would be allowed entry, the protocol stated that the would be subjected to a mandatory quarantine of eight to 14 days (depending on results of COVID-19 PCR test done from day seven of arrival) at a facility approved by government and at cost to the passenger.

The protocol said passengers, who test negative for COVID -19 after seven days, would observe self-isolation on the eighth day while travellers reporting or developing symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival, or during screening would not be allowed to self-quarantine and will be placed in institutional quarantine.

The protocol said: “If any of the passengers that is deported tests positive for COVID-19, all his close primary contacts will be required to undergo enhanced screening and a follow-up PCR test if necessary.”

The protocol, also, required that all persons arriving in Nigeria go through the routine port health screening and present electronic or print-out evidence of pre-boarding PCR test results and evidence of payment/appointment for a repeat PCR test in-country.

It, also, required that all intending travellers to Nigeria should be tested negative for COVID-19 by PCR in country of departure pre-boarding, while the PCR test must be done within 96 hours before departure and preferably within 72 hours pre-boarding.

It said all passengers “are also required to register via a national payment portal online (Nigeria International Travel Portal – and pay for a repeat PCR test to be done upon arrival in Nigeria.

“Passengers will also be compelled to fill in the online Health Declaration/Self-Reporting form co-located on the same national payment platform and submit online or print out for presentation on arrival.

“Before boarding, passengers must upload their COVID-19 PCR negative results on to the national payment portal and bring along an electronic or hard copy of the result for presentation at the airport, while at the time of boarding, all travellers will undergo thermal screening for fever and questioned for symptoms of COVID-19,” the protocol said.

It noted that those with COVID-19 related signs and symptoms would not be allowed to board the flight.

He added that airlines that board passengers without a negative COVID- 19 PCR tests or test results of more than 96 hours prior to boarding would be sanctioned by refusing entry to non- Nigerians and returning them to the point of embarkation at cost to the Airlines.

It added that such passengers would proceed on a seven-day self-isolation, during which time they are to avoid physical interaction with friends, family, colleagues, and other members of the public.

It said the passengers “will present themselves at the sample collection centres on the seventh day of arrival for their samples to be taken and a COVID-19 PCR test done while approved private laboratories will be required to forward details of passengers who decline repeat PCR test by day 14 of arrival for sanctioning.”

The protocol warned that passengers, who violate these protocols, might be sanctioned with suspension of their passports or inclusion on a travel watchlist for six months and denied foreign travel for this period.