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Nigeria Cancels Pre-travel COVID-19 PCR Test For Vaccinated International Visitors

Nigeria has announced that fully vaccinated international travelers visiting the country from April 4 will no longer be required to take the pre-departure Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, however said in Abuja on Monday that those in such category would be needing to take a free rapid antigen test on arrival at the airport.

Stating that the decisions were part of the nation’s revised international travel protocols, the federal government scribe added that the same protocols for the fully vaccinated would apply to travellers between the ages of 10 and 18. 

Mustapha said that unvaccinated or partially vaccinated international travellers would still be required to take the PCR test 48 hours before boarding a flight to Nigeria.

“We still have the National Response in place as we continue to monitor global trends and adapt them with our situation in the country. “There has been a consistent decline in the number of cases around the world but that does not give us the leverage to let our guards down yet because there are predictions of rebounds as we can see in China, South Korea, Germany, Vietnam, France, Hong Kong, among others.

“In fact, China has reintroduced lockdowns in some cities due to the spike in cases. So far, the world has recorded over 471 million confirmed cases, 6m deaths and over 11 billion vaccine doses administered; while in Nigeria, we have recorded 255,103 and 3,142 persons have died as a result of COVID-19.

“We have vaccinated over 20 million persons with at least the first dose. This number is not very encouraging, hence, the need for all eligible Nigerians to come out and be vaccinated,” he said.

The SGF said that the PSC had reviewed these situations around the world and applied such to the situation in Nigeria and had “revised the International Travel Protocols (ITP) which should come into effect on Monday, 4th April.

“In-bound (fully vaccinated) passengers arriving in Nigeria will no longer be required to take a pre-departure PCR COVID-19 Test; on arrival, for fully vaccinated passengers, a sample will be taken at the airport for rapid antigen test by the NCDC within the arrival hall of the airport.

“Passengers who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated shall take a COVID-19 PCR test 48 hours before departure, or do a Day 2 and day 7 test on arrival. Such passengers will be expected to pay for their PCR tests through the travel platform;

“Fully vaccinated passengers will not be charged for arrival rapid antigen tests at the airport; rules that apply to fully vaccinated adults also apply to children aged 10 – 18 years; they will not be required to have pre-arrival PCR tests but will have a sample taken at the arrival hall but not charged.”

He also said all passengers travelling out of Nigeria were encouraged to be fully vaccinated and to fully comply with COVID-19 protocols and requirements in their country of destination.

 Mustapha disclosed that 193 returnees of the 2,357 Nigerians evacuated from war-torn Ukraine had tested positive for COVID-19 “and are managed according to our protocols.”

He also alerted Nigerians, especially those travelling to Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, to be mindful of scammers who, under the guise of helping to access the Nigeria International Travel Portal (NITP), circumvent processes.

He warned that as two major religious festivities (Easter and Sallah) were approaching “we shall be experiencing increased passenger traffic in and out of the country. 

“While the PSC prepares to escalate surveillance and other control activities, we urge the states and all Nigerians to also increase their vigilance and take measures to moderate activities.”

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