The Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs has addressed a circular to all diplomatic, consular and international organisations accredited to Nigeria on the COVID-19 protocols to be observed by passengers arriving Nigeria, which includes depositing their passports with the Nigeria Immigration Service for two weeks, pending the verification of their COVID-19 status.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama confirmed this development to THISDAY in a telephone chat last Night.
On the same day, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country rose to 15,181, with 4,891 patients discharged and 399 deaths recorded.
The circular is in line with the revised quarantine protocol released by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 last Monday for the evacuation of Nigerians stranded abroad and other persons arriving Nigeria from any country
According to the revised quarantine protocol which comes into immediate effect, the arrivals are expected to self-isolate for 14 days and to remain in the city/state where the point of entry is located (i.e Lagos or Abuja), throughout the duration of self-quarantine.
The protocol states further: “If not resident in Lagos, passengers shall make arrangements for accommodation at their own cost. Please note that the federal government will not be responsible for providing accommodation or transportation to the place of abode.
“Passengers will be cleared through the Nigeria Immigration Service System’s Migrant Identification and Data Analysis System and their passports retained until after successful completion of 14 days self-quarantine, except diplomatic passport holders.”
It said after all the COVID-19 protocols had been followed, instructions would be given to the NIS to release the passports to their owners.
According to the protocol, alternative arrangements could be made to collect passports via special delivery.
The protocol said persons who are unable to remain in Lagos or Abuja throughout the period of self-quarantine may return to their states of residence only after their samples had been collected and had tested negative for COVID-19, adding, “such persons must also make their full contact details available.”
All persons, whether citizens or foreigners, are to comply with this protocol.
Other features of the PTF’s revised protocol are: “Passengers arriving/returning to Nigeria must have tested negative for COVID-19 (pre-boarding PCR test in country of departure). PCR test must be within two weeks before departure and preferably not less than five days pre-boarding.
“Tests done more than two weeks before departure are not valid and persons will not be allowed to board; but for the five days minimum, this advisory will not preclude boarding.
“On board, passengers are required to fill in the health declaration/self-reporting form and the sample collection time allocation form.
“Passengers should ensure that the information/contact details provided on the form are correct, verifiable and they can be reached on the phone number and address provided.
“They will be given an appointment time and date to present themselves at the Sample Collection Centre located in Lagos or Abuja for a repeat COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of arrival.
“Passengers must provide their full and correct address and phone number before exiting the airport. They must comply with self-isolation/quarantine guidelines and ensure that they can be reached/can be located during the period.