By Chimezie Godfrey
The Federal Government has issued a new COVID-19 protocol for flights and passengers originating from the United Kingdom (U. K) and South Africa.
This was disclosed in an official document signed by the Director General (DG) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Capt. Musa Nuhu and made available to Newsdiaryonline on Sunday.
Capt. Nuhu stressed that the directive is necessitated by the recent spike in cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria and highly transmissible new variant of the virus in the UK and South Africa.
Capt. Nuhu stated,”With the recent spike in cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria and the reported highly transmissible new variant of the virus in the United Kingdom and South Africa, the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has reviewed the quarantine protocol as follows:
“Passengers originating from United Kingdom (UK) and South Africa:
“For flights and passengers originating from the United Kingdom (UK) and South Africa with final destination being Nigeria, the following shall apply:
“Passengers MUST present the following Two documents in order to be allowed to board their flights to Nigeria – (a) Pre-departure PERMIT TO FLY/QR code generated from the Nigeria International Travel Portal (https://nitmncdc.gov.ng) showing evidence of payment for the post-arrival day 7 COVID-19 PCR test and;
“And (b) Documentary evidence of a NEGATIVE COVID-19 PCR result done within 96 hours (4 days) of boarding from a verifiable laboratory or health facility.
“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 COVID19 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 these protocols.”
The DG stressed that the new COVID-19 protocol applies to all airlines with passengers originating from the United Kingdom and South Africa regardless of transit arrangements.
He also stated that the applicability of these protocol shall be effective from Monday 28th December, 2020.
“This shall be applicable to scheduled and non-scheduled flights conveying passengers originating from United Kingdom and South Africa.
“The earlier quarantine protocol which became effective on 18th September 2020 shall continue to subsist for flights originating from other countries except for the validity of the Pre-departure PCR test result which will now be 96 hours (4 days) from date of departure.
“Effective: Monday 28th December 2020 at 0001 Local Time (2301 UTC),” he stated.
Capt. Nuhu revealed that punitive measures shall be taken against airlines who fail to comply with the stipulations of the new COVID-19 protocol contained in the All Operators Letter.
“The punitive measures shall include but not limited to the following:
“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,” NCAA DG stressed.