FG introduces new travel guidelines, stiff penalties for unvaccinated travellers
The Federal Government has introduced a new international travel guideline by removing mandatory PCR testing for fully vaccinated visitors and instituted stiff penalties for any unvaccinated traveller that violates the new rules.
The Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, made this know on Saturday, noting that the ‘Provisional Travel Protocol for Travellers Arriving Nigeria’, which takes effect from Monday, April 4, 2022, also prescribed sanctions for airlines that board violators of the new rules.
The new guidelines prescribe that the same protocols for fully vaccinated travellers will also apply to travellers between the ages of 10 and 18, adding that unvaccinated or partially vaccinated international travellers will still be required to take the PCR test 48 hours before boarding a flight to Nigeria.
According to the guidelines, “This protocol is a revision of the Travel Protocol released on 29th November, 2021 Interim Travel Guidelines for Passengers arriving in Nigeria.
“In-bound passengers to Nigeria who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are no longer required to carry out COVID-19 PCR test before boarding Nigeria-bound flights.
“Fully vaccinated passengers arriving Nigeria will not also be required to carry out Post arrival PCR test or a Rapid Antigen Test upon arriving Nigeria.
“Children below the age of 18 years will be accorded the same privileges as persons who are fully vaccinated. In-bound Passengers who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated for COVID-19 shall take a COVID-19 PCR test 48 hrs before departure and undergo days two and seven post-arrival PCR tests at their own cost.
“All in-bound passengers MUST register via the online Nigeria International Travel Portal (NITP– https://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng).’
The guidelines prescribed that all passengers travelling out of Nigeria are encouraged to have evidence of full vaccination against COVID-19.
“Comply with the COVID-19 guidelines of their destination or transit countries; and to familiarise themselves with the COVID-19 travel requirements of their destination and transit countries before embarking on the journey,” it stated.
On the issue of airlines boarding violators, it stated that among other sanctions, such airlines would be fined $3,500 for each violator and could be banned from flying into the country.
It stated, “Airlines that board travellers without the appropriate required documents; Vaccine certificate, a negative COVID-19 PCR test done not more than 48 hours prior to boarding and a Paid Permit to Travel /QR code (as may be applicable to the passenger), shall be sanctioned as follows:
“Travellers, who are non-Nigerians, will be refused entry into Nigeria and returned to the point of embarkation at a cost to the airline.
“Travellers who are Nigerians or holders of permanent resident permit will be allowed entry, but subjected to the procedure outlined in Section D below.
“In addition, travellers arriving with forged (fake) vaccine certificates or COVID-19 PCR results shall be prosecuted and required to carry out PCR tests on arrival, on days two and seven.
“Airlines shall be fined USD 3,500 per traveller for failure to comply with any of the above mentioned pre-boarding requirements. Airlines that consistently fail to comply with the above requirements may be banned from coming to Nigeria.
“At the time of boarding, travellers will be required to undergo temperature screening and asked about COVID-19 symptoms. Travellers with temperature of 38°C and other COVID-19 related signs and symptoms shall not be allowed to board the flight.”