The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has issued a public health advisory for Nigerians planning to travel for the Christmas and New year celebrations.
Despite concerns over a possible second wave of Covid-19 infections, many Nigerians are expected to travel during the festive period.
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has advised Nigerians twice in two weeks not to travel during the period to limit the risk of contracting the virus.
Sani Aliyu, the Coordinator of the PTF, on Monday in Abuja said the federal government was discouraging Nigerians abroad to stop travelling arrangements for the period.
Mr Aliyu said the advice became necessary because of the upsurge in COVID-19 cases across the world.
The coordinator also said there is a risk of being stranded in any part of the world after the celebration because of the pandemic.
Sensing that many will travel regardless, the NCDC issued the following guideline:
1. Limit all non-essential domestic and international travel. This is especially important for intending travelers from countries recording a high number of COVID-19 cases. As an alternative to travel, the following should be considered:
• Limit festivities to members of your immediate household. While remaining physically distanced, remain socially connected with friends and loved ones using mobile or video conferencing technology.
• Hold virtual services and prayer sessions to limit mass congregation.
• Limit person-to-person contact and physical movement using electronic money transfers systems.
2. Always wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth when in public settings, such as religious centres and market places
3. Maintain physical distance of at least two metres from others in public settings.
4. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer when hands are not visibly dirty and running water is not readily available
5. Avoid direct contact with people such as hugging and handshaking
6. Cover your mouth and nose properly with a tissue paper, or your elbow when sneezing and/or coughing. Dispose of the tissue properly immediately after use and wash your hands.
7. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of a respiratory illness.
8. Stay at home if you feel unwell and call your state helpline. Do not mingle with others if you have symptoms such as fever, cough or sudden loss of sense of taste or smell.
9. Public settings, including religious settings, businesses and markets, should ensure adherence to public health and safety measures.
10. Vulnerable groups, i.e. people 60 and above and/or people with pre-existing medical conditions, should avoid non-essential outings and visitors. Where possible, have a friend or family member bring you supplies. See NCDC advisory for more information –
If you must travel to Nigeria during this period, please ensure strict adherence to the following travel protocols issued by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19:
1. Passengers MUST test negative by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) from their country of exit 120 hours before departure and preferably within 72 hours pre-boarding.
2. All intending passengers are required to register on the Nigeria International Travel Portal (NITP) via – http://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng, upload their COVID-19 PCR NEGATIVE result and pay for a second PCR test to be done upon arrival in Nigeria. Ensure that the name registered on the NITP matches all travel documents. Present a hard copy of the negative COVID-19 test result, pre-boarding and at the point of entry in Nigeria.
3. Passengers must remain in self-isolation for seven days on return to Nigeria, even if you test negative on entry. A repeat PCR test must be carried out on the seventh day after arrival, to ensure passengers have remained negative, given the risk of infection while traveling.