The Federal Government will on Tuesday (today) issue a new protocol for international travel following the emergence of the Omicron COVID variant globally.
This was disclosed by Mukhtar Muhammad, the National Incident Manager of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, at a media briefing in Abuja on Monday.
The detection of the index case of the Omicron COVID variant was reported in South Africa on 23 November and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has designated it as a “variant of concern”, adding on Monday it could lead to a “high infection risk” worldwide.
Subsequently, the Nigerian government, according to Muhammad, anticipates that carriers of the variant may be on their way to the country and will, therefore, take “far-reaching proactive measures to minimise and mitigate this possibility”.
He said: “Consequently, the PSC will be issuing a travel guideline document tomorrow, but let me highlight the contents of this travel guideline.
“Passengers arriving the country are required to do a PCR test 48 hours before departing. They will also do day two and day seven PCR tests on arrival and they will be required to self-isolate for seven days.
“Passengers that are outbound, going out of Nigeria, will be required to either show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or provide a negative PCR test taken 48 hours before departure. These conditions apply to diplomats as well. The measures will come into effect by Friday, 3rd of December, 2021.
“The PSC will ensure that there is enforcement of passengers who arrive and refuse to take test through suspension of their passports and prosecution, or both. Furthermore, we’ll be increasing our surveillance at the ports of entry into the country, intensify testing and contact tracing, and optimize sequencing capacity.”
Also speaking, Boss Mustapha, Chairman of the PSC on COVID-19, vowed that the Federal Government would decisively deal with anyone found with fake COVID-19 test results, travel certificates among others at the various points of entry into the country.
Mustapha who frowned on the increasing number of those involved said those engaged in this act were endangering the lives of others.
He said: “The PSC is aware of some travellers who have resolved to circumvent the travel protocols by providing fake COVID-19 Test Results, Permit to Travel Certificates or declaring fake vaccination status at our Points of Entry. The weight of the law is heavy and will come hard on these people. You would be amazed at the availability and procurement of these certificates. The danger to which we are all put is unquantifiable.”