Dr. Sani Aliyu, National Coordinator of PTF on COVID-19

Non-compliant air travellers risk 6-month ban as Nigeria releases protocol on transnational flights

*Passengers entering the country must undergo mandatory test to ascertain their COVID-19 status, says PTF on COVID-19 National Coordinator

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

For the safety of aviation product and service consumers as Nigeria prepares for the resumption of international flights, the Federal Government has affirmed its stance to sanction any air passengers who fail to comply with the approved guidelines to flatten the COVID-19 curve with a six-month ban.

Dr. Sani Aliyu, National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, while briefing reporters Monday, August 31, 2020, in Abuja, FCT, stated that the government is committed to the safety and security of Nigerians.

Aliyu said the PTF is working with relevant stakeholders in the aviation sector to ensure that Nigeria does not witness a fresh spike of infections.

He explained: “It is very likely we will put in place measures to enforce this by suspending travel up to six months or deny foreign travels altogether.

“But beyond the sanctions, because as responsible citizens, we all want our country to continue to be COVID-19-free once we get on top of the pandemic, so, we expect the vast number of travellers to continue to comply with these simple, straightforward measures we are putting in place for the benefit of our country and for the health of our citizens.”

Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos

The PTF National Coordinator, however, warned that passengers entering the country must undergo the mandatory test to ascertain their COVID-19 status.

Any passenger who possesses the symptoms of the Coronavirus disease will not be granted entry into the aircraft even after getting a medical report that indicates they are free from the virus, he stated.

Aliyu said: “There will definitely be sanctions if they do not comply.

“Sanctions to the airlines if they allow passengers without a COVID-19 PCR result to board; they will be sanctioned on arrival in Nigeria, that is, the airline.

“For passengers that decline to do the test, at Day 7, we will still allow them after Day 14 to have a test done after which their details will be forwarded to Port Health, Immigration, and part of the security services.”

Aliyu’s remarks come three days after the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said the resumption of international flights has now been shifted to September 5.

The NCAA earlier date had been August 29.

Musa Shuaibu Nuhu, Director-General of the NCAA, revealed the news during a Presidential Task Force COVID-19 briefing in Abuja.

He said while airlines and airports were ready to operate, other non-aviation logistics prompted the one-week extension.

Nuhu said: “We have other non-aviation logistics we are still working on, mostly the COVID-19 protocol tests and online platform.

“We need to get this ready.”

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