In a bid to contain a fast-spreading new strain of COVID-19 recorded in the United Kingdom and South Africa, the Federal Government has issued fresh protocol for airlines and passengers coming into Nigeria from the two countries.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority said non-Nigerian passengers who fail to comply with the new protocol would be returned to the UK and South Africa upon arrival in Nigeria.
This was contained in a circular dated December 26, 2020, and signed by NCAA Director-General, Capt Musa Nuhu.
The circular was titled, ‘Protocol For All Passengers Originating From United Kingdom And South Africa’.
Nuhu directed all indigenous and foreign airlines operating flights between Nigeria and the two countries to ensure all passengers comply with the fresh directive or face punitive measures.
The NCAA boss said the new protocol applies to both scheduled and unscheduled carriers and passengers originating from the UK and South Africa.
He said, “Passengers must present the following two documents in order to be allowed to board their flights to Nigeria:
“Pre-departure Permit To Fly/QR code generated from the Nigeria International Travel Portal (https://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng) showing evidence of payment for the post-arrival day 7 Covid-19 PCR test and;
“Documentary evidence of a negative Covid-19 PCR result done within 96 hours (4 days) of boarding from a verifiable laboratory or health facility.”
Nuhu further stated, “On arrival in Nigeria, passengers will be received and processed separately by Public Health authorities.
“All passengers will be required to self-isolate for 7 days after arrival followed by a Covid-19 PCR test.
“Passengers with a post-arrival negative Covid-19 PCR result can exit isolation at day 8. Those with a positive Covid-19 PCR result will be referred for isolation and further management.
“A dedicated register of arriving passengers from the United Kingdom and South Africa will be opened for enhanced surveillance and active enforcement of the protocol.”
The director-general warned that punitive measures would be taken against airlines that fail to comply.
“Airlines shall be fined $3,500 (Three Thousand Five dollars) for each defaulting passenger.
“Airlines may be required to return non-Nigerian defaulting passengers to point of embarkation.
“Repeated non-compliance by any Airline will lead to the suspension of the Airline’s Approval/Permit to Fly into the country,” he noted.
No fewer than 40 countries including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Mauritius have suspended travel from Britain in a bid to contain the new strain of COVID-19.