The federal government has announced new travel rules for passengers coming from South Africa and the United Kingdom, where a new variant of COVID-19 has been discovered.
Sani Aliyu, the national coordinator of the presidential working group for COVID-19, announced this at a press briefing on Thursday.
He said that as of Monday, all passengers coming from the UK and South Africa must use the Nigerian international travel portal to register, complete a health questionnaire and send a negative COVID-19 result valid for no more than five days.
He said they must pay for a COVID PCR test to be done on the seventh day upon arrival in the country without which they will not be allowed to board the flights.
Aliyu also said a special register for passengers from the two countries would be opened at airports, specifically to monitor and ensure their presence on the COVID test on the seventh day.
“We remain concerned about the emergence of a new variant of the coronavirus in the UK and the additional mutations that have been described as coming from South Africa,” he said.
“The travel system in terms of ensuring the safety of our citizens and preventing the import of cases into the country is one of the strictest. We are one of the few countries that performs double testing, which has a travel portal where you can enter and enter your data, including a health questionnaire, and pay for the test.
“Specifically, for the United Kingdom and South Africa, the PTF met and we decided that additional measures would be needed to ensure the safety of our citizens. When you leave the UK or South Africa, you need two documents that you must present to the airlines.
“The first document is a negative PCR result for COVID-19, the second is a travel document permit, which we use as a QR code. The only way you can get a travel permit on the travel portal is by electronically filling out a health questionnaire, uploading PCR results, and paying for the test for the seventh day.
“If you do not present a travel permit or you cannot present a travel permit, airlines are ordered not to board. So, if you are coming to Nigeria from the UK and South Africa, it is in your best interest to get acquainted with the Nigerian International Travel Portal and make sure to enter your PCR score in your health data which must be negative and pay the seventh day test upon arrival in Nigeria.
“The second execution that we will have to have is related to the seven-day self-isolation upon arrival in the country. We had a lot of discussions about whether we should establish mandatory quarantine when people come. We have decided that upon your arrival we will open a special record for all travelers coming from these two countries. We will have intensified surveillance of where these passengers will be contacted once they get home, we will check them for symptoms. But more importantly, we expect these passengers to be sure to go for your COVID PCR test by the seventh day, which you must have before boarding the aircraft.
“Penalties, we have already mentioned immediately since September, when we opened the international airspace, that penalties for non-compliance with the protocol will be envisaged. Mr. President approved on Tuesday that from now on, especially for those coming from the UK and South Africa, we will pay special attention to these flights.
“If you do not do the seven-day tests by the 10th day, you will automatically enter the list of suspensions. Your travel document – passport will be suspended for at least six months. If you have a visa with a foreign passport, we will revoke your visa. And since it is easier to track a smaller group of people than a larger group of passengers, this has always been a challenge for us, now we can apply this especially to travelers from the UK and South Africa until further notice. “