The Federal Government has announced the suspension of all evacuations of Nigerians in Diaspora as the Covid19 pandemic rages on, giving the implementation of new protocols for isolation and testing as reasons.
According to the Nigerian Government, quarantine in hotels will no longer be an option, as citizens returning from foreign countries will henceforth be ordered to self-isolate at home.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, revealed this today, saying:
“The issue of quarantining in hotels would no longer be feasible. The evacuation was suspended to give room for new measures that would require citizens returning from overseas to get tested and self-isolate at home rather than in designated hotels.
There is going to be a change in that protocol and that is going to affect the timing of any further evacuation we are going to undertake,” he added.
Minister Onyeama revealed that compulsory testing will be demanded before embarking flights to Nigeria, with a minimum of five days interval pre-travel.
According to him, that is a new pre-condition for boarding the flights to Nigeria. Onyeama further revealed that those who test positive will not be allowed to board return flights to Nigeria.
“On arrival in Nigeria, Aliko Dangote and his other partners will have in place these units where they will take samples from the passengers coming in and they will retain their passports,” the minister said.
He added that: “The passengers will then be able to go home and not into prescribed hotels to self-isolate.
“Results from those samples will then be ready within a day or two; those who are positive will then be taken in for isolation.
“The whole issue of quarantining in hotels will no longer be necessary. This can also mean more people can also come back more frequently, and it will be a lot easier than it has been up to now.
“What we have been asked to do is to cease or suspend all evacuations for now until this new structure is put into place.
“We are very hopeful that maybe by next week, we should be able to commence evacuation.”
The Minister further revealed that the number of evacuated Nigerians has so far risen to about 1,000.
According to Onyeama, the Federal Government has also evacuated a number of Nigerian girls that were trafficked to Lebanon.
He said: “We were able to evacuate 69 Nigerians, 50 trafficked Nigerian girls from Lebanon and 19 other Nigerians, and they all arrived safely and are in quarantine.
“We thank the Lebanese community in Nigeria who funded the cost of flight and hotel accommodation for the trafficked girls.”