Travel ban, fine awaits travellers, airlines without valid COVID-19 test
As Nigeria prepares finally to resume international flights, The government this Monday said airlines would be fined $3,500 per passenger for airlifting passengers without valid COVID-19 test results as it prepared to open international flights.
The Coordinator, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, said this at the daily briefing of the PTF on COVID-19 in Abuja, according to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
Commenting on the new protocols that would start from August 29, Aliyu said it was expected that passengers coming into the country must present a PCR COVID-19 test result that was done within seven days.
Aliyu said, “We will be continuing with the process of requesting for a negative PCR result from all passengers boarding to travel to Nigeria. This COVID-19 test must be PCR test. We will not accept any other result. We are concerned about the quality of some of the results and the discrepancy we are getting when passengers are subsequently tested in the country.
“For this reason, the protocol that has just been approved will be reviewed after four weeks and we will also be looking at the level of discrepancy between negative and positive results, with a view to developing a list of accredited laboratories for countries that we frequently receive travellers from.”
“We are narrowing the period of validity for the PCR test from the current 14 days to seven days, from 29th of August. Preferably, the PCR test should be done as close as possible to the point of departure for Nigeria, preferably within 48 to 72 hours, but we will still accept results that are valid for seven days.”
Aliyu stated that travellers arriving Nigerian would pay for their PCR tests. According to him, Aliko Dangote Foundation has been footing the bill of tests conducted on the over 13,000 stranded Nigerians evacuated by the Federal Government from different parts of the world.
“But from the 29th August, travellers will be required to pay for the COVID-19 test in the country,” he stated.
On the concerns over cases of passengers coming into the country with a negative COVID-19 test result and testing positive in Nigeria, he said that PTF was studying the situation and would make a decision when the need arose.
”About 1,280 passengers will be allowed in on a daily basis in Abuja and Lagos airports, which have been billed to start first when the international flights resume.”