Friday, September 30, 2022

COVID-19: Nigeria lifts pre-travel testing for vaccinated visitors

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Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 has lifted per travel testing requirements for COVID-19 vaccinated Nigerians and visitors.

Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman PSC on COVID-19, on Monday in Abuja, said that the revised International Travel Protocols, would take effect from April 4, 2022.

Nigeria joined other countries in adjusting its COVID-19 regulations.

Some leaders are keeping some restrictions on travel and gatherings, while other countries are easing their restrictions.

The World Health Organization has urged countries to follow science rather than imposing flight bans in a bid to contain the new Omicron coronavirus variant.

According to Mustapha, In-bound (fully vaccinated) passengers arriving in Nigeria will no longer be required to take a pre-departure PCR COVID-19 Test.

He said that on arrival, for fully vaccinated passengers, a sample would be taken at the airport for rapid antigen test by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC ), within the arrival hall of all the country’s point of entries and airports.

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“Passengers who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated shall take a COVID-19 PCR test 48 hours before departure, or do a Day 2 and day 7 test on arrival. Such passengers will be expected to pay for their PCR tests through the travel platform.

“Fully vaccinated passengers will not be charged for arrival rapid antigen tests at the airport;

“Rules that apply to fully vaccinated adults also apply to children aged 10 – 18 years; they will not be required to have pre-arrival PCR tests but will have a sample taken at the arrival hall but not charged.

“All passengers travelling out of Nigeria are encouraged to be fully vaccinated and to fully comply with COVID-19 protocols and requirements in their country of destination,” he said.

The SGF said that the PSC continues to strongly recommend the use of face masks in enclosed environments, adding that in open spaces, the use of face masks is discretional.

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The SGF disclosed that the country still has the National Response in place as it continue to monitor global trends and adapt them with the situation in country.

He stressed that there had been a consistent decline in number of cases around the world but that does not give Nigerians the leverage to let their guards down yet.

Mustapha said there were predictions of rebounds as seen in China, South Korea, Germany, Vietnam, France, and Hong Kong.

“In fact, China has reintroduced lockdowns in some cities due to the spike in cases.

“So far, the world has recorded over 471 million confirmed cases, 6 million deaths and over 11 billion vaccine doses administered, while in Nigeria, we have recorded 255,103 cases and 3,142 persons have died.

“We have vaccinated over 20 million persons with at least the first dose. This number is not very encouraging, hence, the need for all eligible Nigerians to come out and be vaccinated,” he stated.

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He disclosed that the Port Health Services have so far screened about 2,357 Nigerians evacuated from Ukraine for COVID-19 out of the over 8,000 residents or students living in Ukraine.

He said that out of these passengers, 193 tested positive to COVID-19 and were managed according to the country’s protocols.

He warned Nigerians to be mindful of scammers especially in Dubai and Saudi Arabia, who come to assist them in accessing the NITP and in the process, register them as children to avoid paying post arrival test.

According to him, the PSC wishes to put Nigerians on notice that two major religious festivities (Easter and Sallah) are approaching and we shall be experiencing increased passenger traffic in and out of the country.

“While the PSC prepares to escalate surveillance and other control activities, we urge the States and all Nigerians to also increase their vigilance and take measures to moderate activities.

NAN

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