Omicron: Nigeria reviews international travel protocol

By our reporter/ The federal government on Friday said it has revised the country’s international travel protocol amid the emergence of a new variant of the COVID-19 virus – Omicron.

Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, who made the disclosure in a statement, said the revised protocol is aimed at further reducing the risk of importation and exportation of the virus.

“This revised protocol is aimed at further reducing the risk of importation and exportation of COVID-19, especially the variants of concern,” the statement dated December 1 reads.

“The PSC assures Nigerians that it shall continue to monitor global and specific country situations with a view to taking necessary measures to safeguard the health of Nigerians.

“The PSC calls on all Nigerians to ensure that they have taken their full dose of COVID-19 vaccinations and to continue to observe compliance to public health social measures.”

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According to Mustapha, the review of the protocol was based on science, national experience, and global developments.

“This revised protocol comes into effect on 5th December 2021,” he added.

In the revised protocol, passengers arriving in Nigeria are required to provide the results of a COVID-19 PCR test done within 48 hours before departure, and post-arrival Day 2 COVID-19 PCR test.

Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals are also expected to go into self-isolation for seven days and take a Day 7 post-arrival exit PCR test.

For out-bound passengers, they are required to provide either valid evidence of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative PCR test result taken within 48 hours from the time of boarding.

Nigeria reported its first set of confirmed cases of Omicron variant (B.1.1.529 SARS-CoV-2 lineage) on Wednesday as more countries continue to ban flights from nations where infections of the new strain have been reported.

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“Samples obtained for the stipulated day two test for all travellers to Nigeria were positive for this variant in three persons with a history of travel to South Africa. These cases were recent arrivals in the country in the past week,” the Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, had said in a statement.

Recently, Canada recently banned incoming travellers from Nigeria after it confirmed its first cases from two persons who arrived from the African nation.

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