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FG introduces new coronavirus policy for returnees

By Idowu Abdullahi,

The Federal Government has announced that its policy of self-isolation will be replaced by fourteen days quarantine for travelers into Nigeria, particularly stranded Nigerians who may be evacuated back into the country.

It explained that the change in the coronavirus response policy had become imperative following an indication that the fourteen days self-isolation policy (isolating at home) earlier put in place failed to achieved its aim of mitigating the spread of the virus.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said that several incidences of returnees who flouted the self-isolation protocols contributed to the multiplier effect and surge in the recorded cases of the virus following the breakout of the deadly pandemic in Nigeria.

Ehanire, who announced this while speaking during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja on Thursday, said travelers coming into the country by air, land, or sea,  will now be quarantined on arrival for fourteen days to ascertain their status before they are reunited with their families.

The move, he said, was to prevent likely community spread of the novel virus across the country, and sustain the gains being recorded in the fight against the virus.

“The policy we have now is that anybody arriving Nigeria from anywhere whether by air, land or by sea will go into quarantine for 14 days. During those 14 days they will be observed for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 disease. They will be tested at the beginning and at the end.

“We Don’t have a provision for isolation at home. At the very beginning, we had that provides that if you came in and did not have a symptom, you isolate at home. Since then, all the cases we are dealing with now came in and multiplied. In order to reduce the incidence of cases coming in and then forming clusters of new infections, the provision has now changed to what we call isolation-one or quarantine.

“Quarantine is for those who have not been confirmed or who are under isolation. If during the period, signs and symptoms show up, they will be tested. If they are positive they will go to treatment centers. If after 14 days they show no symptoms or signs and they are tested and are negative, they are free to go. That is the protocol we have now,” he said.

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