Effective from today Monday 28th December, 2020, International passengers coming to Nigeria directly from the United Kingdom and South Africa are expected to present a permit to travel and a negative Covid-19 PCR test results to airlines in order to board and failure to meet these requirements will lead to denied boarding.
These are the new travel measures put in place by the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 to protect Nigerians due to the spike in positive cases.
A development stakeholders in the aviation industry have applauded.
The Director General, Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekwazu has urged Nigerians to take responsibility due to the spike in the number of infected persons with the covid-19.
“We are now at a critical point where every Nigerian has to take responsibility in protecting the country moving forward”.
This advice has become necessary as there has been a 100% increase in positive cases of the virus in the country.
According to the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, International inbound passengers in the last few weeks have significantly increased the digits which had become a great cause for concern.
“Inbound passengers increased to 20,208 against 15,805 the previous week, 270 passengers tested positive after 7 days against 129 that positive a week before, this represent more than 100% increase from the previous week”.
To this end, to protect the health safety of Nigerians, the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 has deemed fit to put certain rules in place especially on international travel of inbound passengers from the UK and South Africa where a new mutation of the virus had been discovered.
National Coordinator, PTF, Dr. Sani Aliu says henceforth all inbound passengers on direct flights from the UK and South Africa must meet the requirements of travel to Nigeria.
These requirements include among others, a travel permit and a negative covid-19 PCR test results and failure to present these, airlines have been directed to deny passengers from boarding.
“If you do not present a permit to travel or you cannot present a permit to travel, the airlines are being directed not to board. so, if you are coming from the UK and South Africa it is in your best interest before Monday 28 December, 2020, to familiarize yourself with the Nigeria International travel portal”.
Dr. Aliu also listed penalties for failing to go for a day 7 on arrival PCR test and presentation of fake test results.
” If you do not do your day 7 test by day 10, you will automatically go on the suspension list and your travel documents, your passport will be suspended for a minimum period of 6 months”.
These measures by the PTF have been described as a right step in the right direction by aviation stakeholders.
Mr. Olu Uhuayo and Mr. Ikechi Uko speak.
“I think I support this and in order to ensure the airlines comply, additional fine of $3,500 has been imposed for each passenger that violate the protocol, so that we don’t have a bigger problem like we had the last time”.
However, other stakeholders, Mr. Fortune Idu and Miss Joy Ogbebo believe strict enforcement and aggressive campaign was needed at this crucial moment.
“It is crucial to monitor to intensify monitoring processes to stop the spread of Covid, the cost to the traveller is extremely high and the is why you have situations where people now go for fake covid certificates”.
“I will suggest aggressive campaign and sensitization, from the number of questions that I do receive from intending travellers lately, it is obvious that the number of those who are ignorant of this protocols far outweighs the number of those who are aware”.
It pays to do the right thing, it is hoped that all travellers both on local and international flights adhere strictly to the covid protocols to avoid being denied boarding and casting a dark cloud over the industry again.