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Travel policy for review over surge in global COVID-19 cases - THE NATION

NOVEMBER 24, 2020

 Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja

 

NIGERIA plans a review of its  international travel policies  to prevent importation of    Coronavirus  from countries experiencing a rebound.

National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, during a briefing by the task force in Abuja on Monday, said this is to protect Nigerians against a second wave of the disease.

Aliyu said Nigeria would do everything possible to protect its  territory and citizens.

The PTF reiterated the advice that  all non-essential travels be suspended.

Aliyu said: “I want to raise the issue of international travels. As we are aware, we are approaching a very busy season, where we see a surge in passenger travels. The aim of  the PTF over the next few weeks is to discourage travels, especially non-essential ones . We want to reduce the  surge in passenger travels that we see every year around December because  of COVID-19.

“We are actively discouraging non-essential travels. Essential travel is if you have to travel for study, work purposes, humanitarian services, travel to suppprt critical infrastructure, economic services and maintaining supply chain arrangements. Outside this, if you do not need to travel, please stay where you are over this period.

“At the moment, we see  a lot of travel restrictions going on in Europe and other places, if numbers continue to increase and we notice importation of infections, we will review our policy. I am not saying we will ban flights, but I am also saying that we will do everything necessary to protect ourselves from a surge.

“If  you don’t want to be stranded whether in Nigeria or outside the country, think again about traveling over this period. If it is not essential stay put.”

Meanwhile, the PTF said it already has compiled an initial list of 300 violators of COVID-19 travel protocols.

He said such people  failed to do the required travelers’ test, adding that Nigeria would start imposing penalties, including six months travel ban on violators.

According to him, about 60 per cent  of travelers who entered Nigeria,  , failed to turn up to take the required test after making payments..

He said: “We have   the list of the first 300 passengers that have not done the test up to day 14, we are going to streamline these results and create a COVID-19 restriction list for passengers that have not followed  our protocols. These passengers will not be allowed to fly for a period of six months.”

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