The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has released a revised quarantine protocol (the Protocol) with a special focus on travellers arriving from the United Kingdom and South Africa. This an update to the provisional protocol for all travellers released by the FGN which came into effect on 5 September 2020.
The Protocol, issued through the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, was a necessary response to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Nigeria as well as reported cases of a new variant of the virus in the United Kingdom and South Africa. The Protocol will apply to all airlines with passengers originating from the United Kingdom (UK) and South Africa (SA), regardless of the transit arrangements.
The highlights of the Protocol, which became effective 28 December 2020, are:
1. Pre-departure rules:
Passengers arriving from the UK and SA must present:
a) A pre-departure PERMIT to FLY/Quick Response (QR) code generated from the Nigeria International Travel Portal (https://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng) showing evidence of payment for the post-arrival Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test in Nigeria.
b) Documentary evidence of a negative PCR test done within 96 hours (4 days) before boarding the flight to Nigeria. The PCR test must also be from a verifiable laboratory or health care facility in the country of departure.
Airlines that fail to comply with the pre-boarding rules will be fined USD3,500 for each defaulting passenger and asked to return non-Nigerian defaulting passenger to the country of embarkation. Repeated non-compliance will lead to suspension of the airline’s approval/permit to fly into Nigeria.
2. On arrival in Nigeria
All travellers arriving in Nigeria from the UK and SA will be:
a) Received and attended to separately by the Public Health Authorities
b) Required to proceed on a 7-day self-isolation/quarantine and must present themselves at the sample collection centre on the 7th day of arrival for a PCR test. The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force in his speech noted that travellers who fail to show up for the PCR test after 10 days will be automatically added to the suspension list and their travel documents (international passport) suspended for a minimum of 6 months. Also, travellers who have Nigerian entry visas on their international passports may have their visa revoked.
Other details are:
- A dedicated register for travellers arriving from the UK and SA will be opened for enhanced surveillance and effective enforcement of the Protocol.
- Only individuals that have tested negative for COVID-19 after the 7-day self-isolation/quarantine will be allowed to exit self-isolation on the 8th day.
- Persons with a positive COVID-19 PCR result will be referred for isolation and further management.
It is worthy to note that the initial protocol link remains the same for travellers arriving from other countries except for the validity of the pre-departure PCR test which will now be 96 hours from the proposed date of departure.
Companies are encouraged to monitor the compliance of their expatriate staff/visitors with the Protocol as it relates to flights from the UK and South Africa in order to avoid sanctions/penalties