Federal Government is set to fine airlines the sum of $3,500 per passenger or ban them from flying in Nigeria if they fail to comply with its new COVID-19 pre-boarding requirements.
This was disclosed by the Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee, (PSC), Mr Boss Mustapha, on Wednesday.
One of the pre-boarding requirements, according to PSC, is that incoming passengers must now perform a COVID-19, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test three days before boarding.
Mustapha said, “The test detects the presence of a virus if you are infected at the time of the test. The test could also detect fragments of virus even after you are no longer infected. This is part of the new reviewed travel restrictions in the country.
”Passengers must perform a COVID-19 PCR test not more than three days (72 hours) before boarding. PCR test done more than 72 hours before departure is not valid and person will not be allowed to board. Rapid antigen or antibody test are not acceptable; only PCR test can be used for this purpose.
“Test validity commences from the time of sample collection. For passengers with multiple connections before arrival in Nigeria.”
According to him, passengers must bring along an electronic or hard copy of their COVID-19 PCR test for presentation at the departure airport and upon arrival in Nigeria.
The PSC chairman also said that foreigners without PCR test would be deported.
He insisted that all intending passengers (including diplomats and children less than 10 years old) must register via an online national travel portal (Nigeria International Travel Portal.)
He said that they should proceed to fill in the online Health Declaration/Self-Reporting form located on the portal and ensure that the information/contact details provided on the form were correct and verifiable.
”Foreign passport and non-resident in Nigeria, arriving in Nigeria without a valid PCR result (either no PCR result or a forged COVID-19 PCR result or a non-PCR COVID-19 test will be denied entry into the country and arrangements made for immediate deportation at cost to the carrier airline.
“Passengers who are Nigerians or holders of permanent resident permit will be allowed entry.
“Airlines shall be fined USD 3,500 per passenger for failure to comply with any of the pre-boarding requirements; airlines who consistently fail to comply with the above requirements may be banned from coming to Nigeria,” he added.
According to him, passengers, who visited Turkey, Brazil, India, South Africa within 14 days, will be denied entry into Nigeria.
“Non-Nigerian passport holders and non-residents whose days preceding travel to Nigeria shall be denied entry into Nigeria,” the SGF stated.