By Onwuka Gerald
Following the prevailing surge in recorded COVID-19 cases in the country, the Federal government has released quarantine protocols for travellers arriving the country.
The protocols was released in a statement signed on Monday by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha.
Below are the protocols released by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 for travellers arriving the country:
STEP 1 – Passengers must perform a COVID-19 PCR test not more than 4 days (96 hours) before boarding. PCR tests done more than 96 hours before departure are not valid and persons will not be allowed to board. Test validity commences from the time the sample is taken. For passengers with multiple connections before arrival in Nigeria, the 96-hour test validity is from the first point of departure.
STEP 2 – All intending passengers (including diplomats and children less than 10 years old) MUST register via an online national travel portal (Nigeria International Travel Portal – https://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng) and proceed to fill in the online Health Declaration/Self-Reporting form located on the portal. They should ensure that the information/contact details provided on the orm are correct and verifiable. Passengers MUST be reachable via the phone number, email and residential address they have provided. Passengers must also inform Port Health officials on arrival of any change in their health circumstances since completion of the Health Declaration/Self-Reporting Form. Passengers who falsify their status as diplomats will face prosecution.
STEP 3 – After filling the online Health Declaration/ Self-Reporting Form, passengers will be directed to upload their negative COVID-19 PCR test on to the portal. Once this is successfully done, they will proceed to the payment section of the travel portal. Passengers are advised to still bring along an electronic or hard copy of their COVID-19 PCR test for presentation at the airport.
STEP 4 – On reaching the payment section of the portal, passengers will be requested to select their preferred Laboratory/Sample Collection Centre based on where they will be self-isolating at Day-7 of arrival in Nigeria. A list of accredited private laboratory providers/Sample Collection Centers across the country are available on the payment platform. The next stage is to choose a bank payment gateway and then proceed to pay for the Day-7 in-country COVID-19 PCR test. Please note that passengers paying with naira should use cards issued by a Nigerian bank. Diplomats and children less than 10 years old are exempted from payment for the repeat COVID-19 test.
STEP 5 – Following successful payment, passengers should download the Permit to Travel Certificate/ QR Code using the “Get Permit to Travel” button visible at the top right corner of the portal, save and print the form for presentation at the point of boarding. The Permit to Travel Certificate/QR code will have a “PAID” label if payment is successful and “UNPAID” label if payment has not gone through yet or is unsuccessful. A copy of the Permit to Travel Certificate/ QR Code will also be sent to the email address provided by the passenger.
- Prior to boarding for Nigeria, passengers MUST present TWO documents at their point of departure to be allowed to board;
a). A negative COVID-19 PCR test administered within 4 days (96 hours) of departure. Airlines have been directed not to board passengers with non-PCR COVID-19 tests (such as antigen/or antibody tests), a positive COVID-19 PCR test result or tests performed beyond 96 hours of boarding.
b). Permit to Travel Certificate/QR Code – generated from the Nigeria International Travel Portal on completion of a health questionnaire, uploading of a negative COVID-19 PCR result and payment for the repeat Day-7 COVID-19 PCR test at Day-7 of arrival in Nigeria. Passengers failing to show a Permit to Travel Certificate/QR Code will not be allowed to board.
c). Passengers departing from the United Kingdom and Republic of South Africa MUST show evidence of having paid for their post-arrival Day-7 COVID-19 PCR test prior to boarding.
- Airlines that board passengers without any of the TWO documents (a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken not more than 96 hours prior to boarding and a Permit to Travel Certificate/QR code), shall be sanctioned as follows:
a). Passengers, who are Non-Nigerians, will be refused entry and returned to the point of embarkation at cost to the airline;
b). Passengers who are Nigerians and holders of permanent resident permit will be allowed entry, but subjected to a mandatory quarantine of 8-14 days (depending on results of COVID-19 PCR test done from Day-7 of arrival) at a facility approved by the government and at cost to the passenger(s)/airline;
c). Airlines shall be fined USD 3,500 per passenger for failure to comply with any of the pre-boarding requirements;
d). Airlines who fail to comply with the above requirements may be banned from coming to Nigeria.
- At the time of boarding, travellers will be required to undergo temperature screening and asked about COVID-19 symptoms. Passengers with temperature >38°C and other COVID-19 related signs and symptoms shall not be allowed to board the flight.
B). ARRIVING NIGERIA:
On arrival in Nigeria, all passengers are kindly advised to strictly adhere to instructions given by Port Health Services at the arrival terminal. Passengers who fail to adhere to instructions may be sanctioned by relevant security personnel. All passengers arriving in Nigeria will be required to:
- Go through the routine Port Health screening and present electronic or print-out evidence of pre-boarding COVID-19 PCR test and the Permit to Travel Certificate/QR Code.
- Present their international passports for clearance through the Nigerian Immigration Service System’s Migrants Identification Data Analysis System (MIDAS). The Nigerian Immigration Service will not retain passport.
- Proceed on mandatory 7 days self-isolation/quarantine in their selected place of abode; self-isolation in the city of port of entry is not mandatory. During this time, passengers are advised to avoid physical interaction with friends, family, colleagues, and other members of the public. Passengers should check their emails/text messages regularly for updates regarding the arrangement for their repeat COVID-19 PCR test from the laboratory of their choice;
- Present themselves at the laboratory/sample collection centers on the 7th day of arrival. Samples will be taken, and a COVID-19 PCR test done. The selected private laboratory provider will send a reminder text message, email, or phone call to the passenger a day before the appointment. Kindly note that:
a. Passengers who fail to submit themselves at the sample collection centers on Day-7 of arrival will be sent text reminders and their details forwarded to the State Public Health Department teams and NCDC for active follow-up;
b. Private laboratories will forward details of passengers who decline or do not show up for repeat PCR test by Day-14 of arrival. These passengers will face travel restrictions on their passports for 6 months and will not be able to travel abroad for this period. Non-Nigerian passport holders will have their visas revoked;
c. Test results will be ready within 72 hours and the State Public Health Department teams & Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) will be informed accordingly;
d. Persons who test positive for COVID-19 will be managed based on National guidelines for COVID-19 treatment;
e. Persons who test NEGATIVE for COVID-19 after 7 days shall end self-isolation on receipt of their result but must continue to self-monitor for symptoms until Day-14;
f. Travellers reporting or developing symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival in Nigeria, or during screening will not be allowed to self-quarantine and will be placed in institutional quarantine;
g. For deportees, if one person tests positive for COVID-19, all close primary contacts will be required to undergo enhanced screening and a follow-up PCR test if necessary; and
h. Public Health Officers will monitor passengers during the period of self –isolation/quarantine. For this reason, passengers MUST provide a functional/valid telephone number on their online registration forms. Persons who develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 during the isolation period will immediately be tested for COVID-19. If positive, they will be managed based on National Guidelines for COVID-19 treatment.
C). EXIT FROM SELF-ISOLATION:
Persons who test positive for COVID-19 after the post-arrival Day-7 test shall be managed based on national guidelines for COVID-19 treatment. 2. Persons who test negative for COVID-19 after 7 days of self-isolation/quarantine will be allowed to exit self-isolation on receipt of their result.
The statement continued that the protocol will come into effect from Monday, 11th January, 2021.