The Presidential Task Force PTF on COVID-19 has rolled out provisional quarantine protocol for travellers arriving into Nigeria from any country or perhaps public health measures which are applicable to all passengers entering or leaving Nigeria during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement released by the Chairman of the PTF on COVID-19 who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha recently, while the protocol will come into effect starting from Saturday, 5th September, 2020.
According to the statement, “All travellers arriving in Nigeria must have tested NEGATIVE for COVID-19 by PCR in country of departure pre-boarding. The PCR test MUST be within 96 hours before departure and preferably within 72 hours pre boarding. For certain countries, COVID-19 PCR tests will only be acceptable from specified laboratories.
“Tests done more than 96 hours before departure are not valid and persons will not be allowed to board; but for the 72 hours minimum, this is advisory and will not preclude boarding; All intending passengers are required to register via an online national payment portal (Nigeria International Travel Portal http://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng) and pay for a repeat (second) PCR test to be done <br>upon arrival in Nigeria.
“Once payment is completed, passengers will receive an e-mail from the selected laboratory of their choice providing them with the laboratory link to register for the repeat COVID-19 PCR test on the 7th day after arrival. Passengers will be able to choose a Sample Collection Center and an appointment time and date for sample collection.
“A list of accredited private laboratory providers and Sample Collection Centers across the country will be available on the payment platform and the NCDC website; Passengers will be required to fill in an online Health Declaration/Self-Reporting Form located on the Nigeria International Travel Portal.
“They will be required to submit the completed form online or provide a print out for presentation on arrival. They should ensure that the information/contact details provided on the form are correct, verifiable and travelers should be reachable on the phone number and address provided. Passengers must inform Port Health officials on arrival of any change in their health circumstances since completion of the Health Declaration/Self-Reporting Form.
“Prior to boarding, passengers are requested to 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. At the time of boarding, all travellers will undergo thermal screening temperature screening and questioned for COVID-19 symptoms.
“Passengers with COVID-19 related signs and symptoms will not be allowed to board the flight; and Airlines must only board passengers with NEGATIVE COVID-19 test results carried out within the stipulated 96 hours before boarding. Airlines that board passengers without a NEGATIVE COVID-19 PCR tests or test results of more than 96 hours prior to boarding, will be sanctioned as follows.
“Non- Nigerians may be refused entry and returned to the point of embarkation at cost to the airlines; Nigerians will be allowed entry, but subjected to a mandatory quarantine of 8 -14 days (depending on results of COVID-19 PCR test done from day 7 of arrival) at a facility approved by the government and at a cost to the passenger(s); and Airlines will be fined USD 3,500 per passenger for failure to comply with the pre-boarding requirements.
“All passengers/persons arriving in Nigeria will be required: To 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; To present their international passports for clearance through the Nigerian Immigration Service System’s Migrants Identification Data Analysis System (MIDAS). Passenger’s biodata page and picture will be forwarded to all COVID-19 PCR Sample Collection Centers to enable proper identification before sample collection.
“Passports will not be retained by the Nigerian Immigration Service; To proceed on 7-day self-isolation/quarantine, during which time they are to avoid physical interaction with friends, family, colleagues, and other members of the public (i.e. must observe strict physical and social distancing). Passengers are please reminded to check their emails regularly for updates regarding the arrangement for their repeat COVID-19 PCR test from the laboratory of their choice.
“To present themselves at the sample collection centers on the 7th day of arrival; samples will be taken, and a COVID-19 PCR test done; a reminder text message may be sent to the passenger by the private laboratory provider a day before the appointment. Kindly note that: Passengers who fail to submit themselves at the sample collection centers on day 7 of arrival will be sent text reminders and their details forwarded to the State Public Health Department teams and NCDC for active follow-up.
“Private laboratories will be required to forward details of passengers who decline repeat PCR test by day 14 of arrival will face a penalty. These passengers may face suspension of their passports or inclusion on a travel watchlist for 6 months and denied foreign travel for this period; Test results will be ready within 24 to 48 hours and the State Public Health Department teams & Nigeria Center for Disease Control will be informed accordingly.
“Persons who test POSITIVE for COVID-19 will be managed based on National Guidelines for COVID-19 treatment; Persons who test NEGATIVE for COVID-19 after 7 days will end self-isolation on the 8th day; Travellers reporting or developing symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival, or during screening will not be allowed to self-quarantine and will be placed in institutional quarantine; For deportees, if one person tests positive for COVID-19, all close primary contacts will be required to undergo enhanced screening and a follow-up PCR test if necessary; and Passengers will be monitored by Public Health Officers during the period of self-<div>isolation/quarantine.
“For this reason, passengers will be required to provide a functioning telephone number on their online registration forms. Persons who develop symptoms of COVID-19 during the isolation period will immediately be tested for COVID-19. If POSITIVE, they will be managed based on National Guidelines for COVID-19 treatment. EXIT FROM SELF-ISOLATION, Persons who have tested NEGATIVE for COVID-19 after 7 days of self-isolation/quarantine will be allowed to exit self-isolation on day 8”, the statement said.