The Nigerian government says more than 18,000 cases of coronavirus have been recorded from inbound travellers to the country as of January 16, 2022.
It blamed the development on the failure of travellers to strictly adhere to the travel protocols put in place by Nigeria.
The director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Ifedayo Adetifa, disclosed this in a statement issued on its website on Friday.
Mr Adetifa said the decision to make repeat tests mandatory in Nigeria was based on the review of COVID-19 test positivity data among returnees to the country during the first and subsequent waves of the pandemic.
He explained that this was necessary to ensure a balance between the mandate to protect the health of Nigerians from infections and supporting the restart of the economy.
“As of 16th January 2022, over 18,000 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded from inbound travellers to Nigeria. Therefore, the associated risk of disease transmission is not trivial,” he said.
So far, Nigeria has recorded 251,684 cases of COVID-19 and 3,123 persons have died from complications caused by the virus.
Inbound, outbound travellers
Mr Adetifa said there have been complaints and enquiries on the use of the Nigeria International Travel Portal (NITP).
He said since the resumption of international flights post-COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria, NITP remains an effective means of preventing the importation of the virus via air travel.
“Since its launch, the NITP has been updated frequently over time and more recently, there was an upgrade in October 2021, to enable a more user-friendly experience for travellers, laboratories, and other users.
“We are aware of reports of travellers to Nigeria who have experienced delays at the airport for not meeting all the travel requirements as stated on the NITP,” he said.
He urged the public to adhere strictly to the guidance on the travel portal to ensure its seamless use.
NCDC also recommends the use of card payments over bank transfers when using the portal.
The director-general added; “Registration on the travel portal prior to departure should be done immediately after your negative COVID-19 test result is obtained, preferably 24 hours before your travel date.
“Card payments are recommended over bank transfers especially if the registration on the portal is done less than 24 hours before departure.
“Travellers who do not receive their QR code despite making payment should download the Permit to Travel/QR Code using the “Get Permit to Travel” button visible on the top right corner of the portal. A link to print the Permit-To-Travel is also sent to the email address of registered travellers.”
Mr Adetifa said the agency recognised the technical challenges that might occur from time to time and will continue to make improvements to optimise the functionality of the travel portal.
He said the agency and the Federal Ministry of Health remain committed to strengthening Nigeria’s response to COVID-19 and controlling this and other outbreaks.
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