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Written by Omeiza Ajayi
The federal government has introduced new measures to restrict imports of COVID-19, particularly from the United Kingdom and South Africa, saying returnees from both countries are required to present two documents before boarding.
National Coordinator of the PTF Presidential Working Group for COVID-19, dr. Sani Aliyu, revealed this during a briefing on the working group on Thursday.
He said; “Specifically, international travelers must register on the Nigerian international travel portal.
“We are concerned about the emergence of a new variant of COVID-19 in the UK and an additional mutant in South Africa. Our protocol that ensures the safety of our citizens and prevents the import of cases into the country is one of the strictest.
“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. Thus, as of Monday, December 28, all passengers coming to the country from the UK and South Africa by direct flights must use the Nigerian International Tourism Portal to register and complete a health questionnaire; must send a negative PCR result for COVID-19 with a validity period of no more than five days and must pay for a PCR test for COVID-19 on the 7th day of their arrival in the country.
“When you leave the UK or South Africa, you need two documents that you have to present to the airlines. The first document we already have is a negative PCR result for COVID-19. The second document is a travel permit.
“They have to present these documents to the airlines in order to board. The only way you can get a travel permit on the travel portal is by electronically filling out a health questionnaire, uploading PCR results for COVID-19, and paying for the 7-day test. If you do not present a travel permit, the airlines have been ordered not to allow you to board. ”
He said a special register would be opened at the airport for all passengers coming from both countries and that there would be an enhanced surveillance system through which those passengers could be contacted when they arrived at their homes.
Aliyu added that about a hundred of those who had previously violated the protocol had been suspended for at least six months, saying visas would be revoked for those who have foreign passports and visas.
He also said that the FCT of the Federal Territory of the capital is already without a bed due to the increase in the number of infections.
The government, however, explained its decision not to rush with a ban on international air travel from some countries, but said it would step up measures to protect against imports of the COVID-19 virus into the country.
Chairman of the PTF Presidential Working Group for COVID-19 and Secretary of the Government of the SGF Federation, Mr. Chief Mustapha announced this during a briefing.
“In international travel, especially from the UK, South Africa and some areas with a very high workload, we continue to assess the actions taken by various countries. We note that some countries that initially banned flights have adopted a requirement that already existed in Nigeria.
“We have also weighed the security, economic and social implications of a full ban, especially when we take into account the situation in neighboring countries and ECOWAS as a whole. “PTF will increase measures that apply to those countries with a heavy burden in order to reduce import opportunities,” he said.
Mustapha added that “PTF is working with relevant MDAs on regulatory and certification issues before we move on, on the topic of vaccines.
„2021. years, vaccines and NPI. As we progress in this phase of NPI + vaccines, I urge state governments not to close their treatment centers. Instead, they should be maintained efficiently and smoothly as infection cases grow and we must intensify efforts to support public sector laboratories with critical reagents, and PTF expects the leadership of all federal tertiary health care institutions to raise the level of testing and reversal results.
“We have gone through the past of COVID-19 policy. It’s time for hard work, “he said.
According to the SGF, six members of his household returned home after a 12-day stay at the isolation and treatment center after being positively tested for the virus.
About the global conversation about a new strain of the virus discovered in the United Kingdom, UK, the general director, Nigeria Center for Disease Control NCDC, said Dr. Chikwe Iheakwazu; “Over the last few days we have been following reports of virus mutations in the UK, South Africa and some other countries, but it is important to establish some facts about what we know, what we don’t know and what we are willing to learn in the next few years.
“The most important fact that needs to be stated in order to calm everyone’s nerves is that viruses are constantly mutating.
“We did not find that strain in Great Britain, but it is also not something we were looking for on the move. To find this, you need to do sequencing. And our focus was not on sequencing. We’ve done a series of sequences before, but we haven’t found that.
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“We only found traction that was similar, but not the same. However, we do more order. Is it possible for them to circle, yes. That’s because there’s a lot of travel between the UK and Nigeria, ”he added.
Iheakwazu said the NCDC will work with stakeholders to collect new sequencing samples to determine their variant. “This is a continuous business. That can’t happen in a hurry. It is very complex. “Sequencing is not a direct business, which is why we only have a few centers that can do that.”
He also called on states to reopen their testing centers, saying the NCDC alone cannot conduct all tests on COVID-19 sent from states.
According to him, the Center is working on adopting the use of a rapid diagnostic test kit from next year in order to expand testing in the country.
He said; “The light at the end of the tunnel is being tested. By next year, we will introduce the use of a quick test kit. We made a significant purchase that is coming in January, and through that we will bring testing closer to people far from the laboratory. “
Vanguard News Nigeria