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JUST IN: FG bans over 2,000 Nigerians from traveling abroad after COVID-19 tests evasion

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

 

The Federal Government has banned over 2,000 Nigerians and foreigners from traveling abroad and into the country for one year after shunning the Coronavirus Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test at international airports in the country.

It said that the over 2,000 citizens’ and foreigners’ names have been pasted at all the major federal medical facilities where medical experts were assigned to give care to Nigerians and foreigners that had travelled into the country during COVID-19 third waves.

As gathered, foreign travel restrictions have been placed on Nigerians whose names appeared on the lists’ while non-Nigerian have had their visas revoked immediately.

The statistics represented passengers that came into the country recently after the central government commenced enforcement of the reviewed COVID-19 protocol, aimed at flattering the virus curve across Nigeria.

The passengers were said to have failed to go through the routine port health screening and present electronic or print-out evidence of pre-boarding COVID-19 PCR test and the Permit to Travel Certificate/QR Code before the health officials at the entry ports.

The National Incident Manager for the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Mukhtar Mohammed, announced the development on Monday while briefing newsmen on the ongoing enforcement of protocol across the country.

Mohammed added that the violators were discovered after the COVID-19 protocol was reviewed as well as strengthing the enforcement across the airports.

He said: “Our efforts showed that compliance across the country is very low but at point of entry has been shown to be quite appreciable.

“Also, we have strengthen surveillance at the entry ports and that is why we have prevented movements from some of the country that were identified as high risk nations.
“To ensure the curve is flattened, we have included the need to quarantine passengers coming into Nigeria from these COVID-19 high risk nations and people that evade protocols have been penalised through publication of their names as well as suspension of their passports for one year.
“I must assure you that we have published the names of over 2,000 people that have evaded the protocols at the entry border in the health facilities. Aside from that, we have gone ahead to ensure that their passports were suspended”, the National Incident manager added.
Muhammad, meanwhile, warned port officials still assisting passengers to evade the test and others at the accredited isolation centres across the country, to desist immediately.
According to him, we are aware of sharp practices at the airports and at locations set aside for quarantine places; efforts are ongoing to curb this actions completely.
The National Incident manager hinted that the strategies introduced have yielded desired results, saying we have witnessed some reduction in cases in the country.
“From the month of when we commenced this exercise, we have seen a progressive decline and the number has reduced from 27 percent in May to 16 percent in August across the country.
“But for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, the compliance has been consistent and the percentage of passengers that evaded quarantine in the month of May was 37%. and in June, it was 9 percent, July 8 percent and August it was about 4 percent

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