Omicron: FG to issue new protocol for international travel on Tuesday

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The federal government says it will release a new travel protocol on Tuesday as a proactive measure to prevent the Omicron COVID variant from entering Nigeria.

Mukhtar Muhammad, the national incident manager of the presidential taskforce on COVID-19, said this on Monday at a media briefing in Abuja.

The index case of Omicron was detected in South Africa on November 23 and the World Health Organisation (WHO) subsequently designated Omicron as a “variant of concern”, calling on global leaders to take action to contain its spread.

Muhammad said there has been global concern about the Omicron variant and fears that it could be on its way to Nigeria.

He said although no case of the variant has been detected in Nigeria, the PSC has taken “far-reaching proactive measures to minimise and mitigate this possibility”.

“Consequently, the PSC will be issuing a travel guideline document tomorrow, but let me highlight the contents of this travel guideline,” he said.

“Passengers arriving the country are required to do a PCR test 48 hours before departing. They will also do day two and day seven PCR tests on arrival and they will be required to self-isolate for seven days.

“Passengers that are outbound, going out of Nigeria, will be required to either show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or provide a negative PCR test taken 48 hours before departure. These conditions apply to diplomats as well. The measures will come into effect by Friday, 3rd of December, 2021.

“The PSC will ensure that there is enforcement of passengers who arrive and refuse to take test through suspension of their passports and prosecution, or both. Furthermore, we’ll be increasing our surveillance at the ports of entry into the country, intensify testing and contact tracing, and optimize sequencing capacity.”

Several countries including the UK, US and Germany have imposed travel restrictions on travellers from Southern Africa.

The Indonesian government, on Sunday, also said it will ban travellers from eight African countries — including Nigeria.

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