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FG Cancels COVID-19 Test, Face Mask Wearing For Travellers

FG Cancels COVID-19 Test, Face Mask Wearing For Travellers

The Federal Government through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority on Monday said pre-arrival or post-arrival testing for COVID-19 was no longer a prerequisite for travellers, “irrespective of vaccination status.”

Additionally, the aviation regulatory body has discontinued the COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test for all passenger categories, regardless of vaccination status, in its revised COVID-19 public health protocols for all aviation service providers for both domestic and international operations.

The choice was made at the same time that President Muhammadu Buhari gave his immediate approval for the relaxation of the COVID-19 travel advisory and safety measures, including the suspension of the PCR tests and gathering restrictions.

This was stated by Mr. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19.

According to him, this follows the recommendations of the PSC based on clinical and laboratory evidence of sustained reduction in COVID-19 infection/transmission across the country.

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In the revised guideline signed by the Director-General of NCAA, Capt Musa Nuhu, airlines can now serve meals onboard their flights.

The head of the NCAA indicated that because the COVID-19 pandemic has been prevalent at a low level for an extended period of time in Nigeria and most other countries, the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 changed public health recommendations.

He emphasized that wearing “facemasks by passengers onboard aircraft or inside airport terminal buildings is discretionary but recommended” and that for domestic operations, the PSC mandated that wearing facemasks by airport workers, passengers, and crew members inside airport terminal buildings and onboard aircraft is no longer required.

Persons aged 60 years and above, immunocompromised and those with co-morbidities are advised to use facemasks, wash their hands with water and soap, use hand alcohol-based sanitizers and avoid large gatherings.

In addition, the disinfection of bags at the entrance of terminal buildings and maintenance of social distancing at airport terminal buildings is no longer required.

The PSC equally mandated airlines to resume serving catering (meals and drinks) onboard aircraft while the use of alcohol-based sanitizers by passengers and airport workers is recommended.

For international operations, the same requirements as domestic operations are to be applied even as the pre-departure and post-arrival COVID-19 PCR tests have been abolished and are no longer required for all passengers irrespective of vaccination status while PCR tests required for all passengers who are partially or not fully vaccinated have equally been suspended.

Equally significant is that health declaration forms and permission to travel/QR code are no longer required.

Nuhu warned that failure by any aviation service provider to comply with the All Operators Letter (AOL) shall attract appropriate sanction, adding, “This AOL shall be effective immediately”.

The DG stated that a simplified health questionnaire form (non-COVID-19 specific) shall be completed by all passengers travelling to Nigeria preferably pre-departure on the Nigerian International Travel Portal (NITP).

He explained that passengers who fail to fill the health questionnaire on the NITP pre-departure will be required to fill the health questionnaire either onboard the aircraft prior to landing or at the airport terminal building upon arrival.

FG Cancels COVID-19 Test, Face Mask Wearing For Travellers

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