The Nigerian government early this week reviewed the travel protocol in response to the significant reduction in the global cases of the coronavirus( COVID-19 )pandemic.
The aviation regulatory body, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in a memo addressed to all airline operators, among other stakeholders confirmed that the prevalence of the pandemic in the country and “most parts of the world has remained at a low level for a sustained period.”
The memo dated December 12 and marked NCAA/DG/AIR/11/16/358, revealed that the current review was sanctioned by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC), which is headed by the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha.
“COVID-19 Travel Testing: Pre-departure and Post-arrival COVID-19 PCR tests are no longer required for all passengers irrespective of vaccination status. PCR tests required for all passengers who are partially/not fully vaccinated have been suspended,” Nuhu said.
Aside from the suspension of COVID tests, wearing of face masks is no longer mandatory for passengers on board aircraft, but recommended for persons at risk of severe illness.
“The wearing of face masks inside airport terminal buildings and on board aircraft by airport workers, passengers, and crew members is no longer mandatory. Wearing a face mask by passengers on board aircraft or inside airport terminal buildings is discretionary but recommended.
“Persons aged 60 years and above, immune-compromised (e.g. due to organ transplant, cancer, etc), those with co-morbidities (e.g. heart disease, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, etc), are advised to use face masks, wash their hands with water and soap, use hand alcohol-based sanitizers, and avoid large gatherings.
“Disinfection of bags at the entrance of terminal buildings is no longer required.
“Airlines are therefore required to resume serving catering (meals and drinks) on board aircraft.“Maintaining social distancing at airport terminal buildings is no longer mandatory.
“Facilities and conveyances are advised to maintain good environmental hygiene, good ventilation, and encourage good hand and respiratory hygiene.
“The use of alcohol-based sanitizer by passengers and airport workers is recommended.“Boarding and disembarkation protocols are to be maintained,” the memo stated.NCAA said 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).
“Declaration form. Permission to travel/ QR code is no longer required. A simplified health questionnaire form (non-COVlD-19 specific) shall be completed by all passengers travelling to Nigeria preferably pre-departure on the Nigerian International Travel Portal (NITP).
“Passengers who fail to fill the health questionnaire on the NITP pre-departure will be required to fill the health questionnaire either on board the aircraft prior to landing or at the airport terminal building upon arrival.
“All other COVID-19 quarantine/travel requirements are hereby made optional.
“This AOL supersedes previous AOLs issued on COVID-19 for domestic and international operations,” the new protocol stated.