Nigeria places travel restrictions on South Africans to curb new Covid variant
- Nigeria has tightened travel restrictions on all passengers arriving from South Africa and the UK.
- Travellers will be processed separately upon arrival and will be subjected to at least seven days in quarantine, even with a negative Covid-19 PCR test.
- Airlines who fail to comply with the new regulations will be fined up to R51,000 for each defaulting passenger.
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Passengers travelling from South Africa to Nigeria will be subject to strict regulations effective from Monday 28 December 2020. The latest travel restrictions follow the discovery of 501.V2, a mutation of Covid-19 which is more contagious than the original virus.
While several countries have announced outright travel bans prohibiting the entry of passengers departing, or transiting through, South Africa, Nigeria has opted for a monitored approach.
Passengers from the UK and South Africa will be allowed to enter Nigeria on the condition that they present two documents. Travellers will need to obtain a pre-departure permit to fly – in the form of a unique QR code – from the Nigeria International Travel Portal. Additionally, visitors are required to submit proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test, obtained within 96 hours of the scheduled departure time.
Incoming passengers will be received and processed separately when disembarking from their flights. Nigeria’s Public Health Authority will oversee the arrival of passengers from both the UK and South Africa, with stringent isolated screening processes in place to prevent Covid-19 transmission within the confines of the airport.
Even with a negative Covid-19 test result, all passengers arriving from South Africa will be subjected to a mandatory seven-day quarantine period. Travellers will again be tested on the seventh day of self-isolation. A negative result will allow travellers to exit quarantine while a positive PCR test will require further isolation for a period prescribed by the Public Health Authority.
Incoming travellers will be monitored closely throughout their quarantine stay and have been urged to comply with all restrictions imposed by the Public Health Authority.
The government has also issued a stern warning to airlines which fail to follow protocols. Penalties include a fine of $3,500 (R51,000) for each defaulting passenger. Airlines may also be expected to return non-Nigerian defaulting passengers. Repeated non-compliance by any airline will lead to the suspension of the Airline`s Approval/Permit to fly into the country.
The announcement comes just days after the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that a new Covid-19 variant had been discovered in Nigeria. “It's a separate lineage from the UK and the South African lineages,” said John Nkengasong, director of the African CDC.
Nkengasong added that it was still too early to tell if the new variant discovered in Nigeria was more contagious.
(Compiled by Luke Daniel)
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