*Orders Health officials to pay special attention to flights from UK, South Africa
Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The federal government has given approval to port health authorities to pay special attention to flights originating from the United Kingdom and South Africa to ensure that that the passengers from those two countries abide by the protocol on the post arrival PCR Test.
The National Coordinator Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu made this disclosure Thursday at the PTF briefing in Abuja.
Aliyu said that President Muhammadu Buhari gave the approval when the members of the task force presented their end of the year report to him on Tuesday.
The national coordinator also stated that effective from the midnight of December 28, 2020, there will be new travel requirements for people travelling from UK and South Africa, adding it is the responsibility of passengers to ensure they familiarise themselves with these rule while airlines will be notified accordingly.
The latest move was on the heel of report that many travellers were not abiding by the mandatory international protocol that expect travellers to do test seven days after arrival. In the same regard, focus have been on the UK and South Africa because of the discovery of a new variant of COVID-19, which is considered to be more virulent from the two countries.
In addition, Aliyu said that passengers that fail to perform their mandatory day seven test by day 10, will automatically be placed on the suspension list and their travel passport suspended for a minimum period of six months.
“If you carry a foreign passport with a visa, we will revoke your visa and because it is easier to track smaller group of persons than large numbers of persons, we are able to enforce this specifically for passengers coming from these routes (South Africa and UK) until further notice,” he said.
He further stated that over this weekend, the PTF will publish the first list of 100 Nigerian passport numbers that will be suspended for six months, stating that they had already contacted the affected passengers having also confirmed that they have not had a COVID-19 PCR Test.
“We will not be publishing names but we will publish the passport number and we are asking from now on the people that are travelling to obey our protocol as there will be a repercussion if you don’t in terms of penalty.
In addition to this, we will also be instituting the same penalty for people presenting fake COVID-19 PCR results at our airports when exiting or they are found to have presented fake COVID- 19 PCR result on arrival. For those that are exiting we have codes that we have developed and we will be asking airlines to start using, which will entail entering a code for every result onto a website which will tell whether the result is fake,” Aliyu said.
Meanwhile the Chairman PTF, Mr Boss Mustapha has said the federal government will continue to evaluate the actions taken by various countries on South Africa and the UK, noting, that some of the countries that initially banned flights from these high burden nations have now adopted the requirement already in place in Nigeria.
Mustapha also said government had also weighed the security, economic and social implications of a full ban especially the situation in neighboring countries and the ECOWAS as a whole was considered, adding the PTF shall increase measures pertaining to those high burden countries to scale down the possibilities of importation.