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NCDC, government agencies working to address challenges faced by travellers

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is working with other Ministries and Agencies through the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to address challenges faced by travelers to Nigeria.

The NCDC identified the travellers as those using the Nigerian International Travel Portal.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of NCDC, disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.

NAN, reports that the PTF on COVID-19 announced the resumption of international flight to Nigeria with measures in place.

Ticketing officials attends to passengers inside the departure terminal of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, in Abuja, Nigeria on September 7, 2020. - After a five-month closure of the Nigerian airspace due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, flight resumptions began in Abuja, Nigeria. (Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP)


The measures included – “All travelers arriving in Nigeria must have tested negative for COVID-19 by PCR in the county of departure pre-boarding. The PCR test must be done within 96 hours before departure and preferably within 72 hours.

“Furthermore, passengers are required to remain in self-isolation on arrival and carry out a COVID-19 test in a designated private laboratory seven days after arrival. This entire process must be registered on the Nigeria International Travel Portal- www.nitp.ncdc.gov.ng

However, many passengers have expressed frustration in accessing the portal, the costs of the test on arrival, and other challenges. Taking to Twitter, some passengers highlighted that they had been unable to complete the payment online and therefore unable to board their aircraft.

In a swift response on Sept. 8, 2020, the Ihekweazu via his verified Twitter handle, responded to say “Our deep apologies to everyone that has had challenges with the platform for travelers. We are working across several ministries and agencies, with banks and laboratories, across federal and state governments to make this system work for all.”

Speaking on the issue of costs, the NCDC boss mentioned that the government could not regulate the cost of testing in private laboratories.

“As the country continues to respond to COVID-19, public health laboratories will continue to provide testing free-of-charge for public health needs, “ he said.

Meanwhile, a review of the global situation by NAN showed that this was similar to other countries.

In the United Kingdom, the National Health Service (NHS) does not provide testing for travelers.

Travelers who required a negative COVID-19 PCR test paid for testing in accredited private laboratories, which ranged from 200 – 350 pounds (115,000 – 201,250 naira).

In some states in the U.S.such as Alaska, nonresidents who arrived without a negative test would pay 250 dollars (110,750) for a PCR test on arrival.

Currently, the tests in Nigerian private laboratories were between 42,750 – 50,400 naira, depending on the laboratory.

The NCDC said it will provide it document answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for travelers.

The document is set to be made available on the NCDC website (www.covid19.ncdc.gov.ng) and will provide further information for travelers.


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