By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has banned passengers from Brazil, India and Turkey from entering the country as the nations battle another wave of coronavirus.
The ban, which will take effect from Tuesday, May 4, will also see people who have visited the blacklisted countries within 14 days preceding their travel to Nigeria denied entry into the country.
This was made known by the chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, on Sunday.
It was also disclosed that airlines that fail to comply with measures will pay a $3,500 penalty for each defaulting passenger, with non-Nigerians to be denied entry and returned to the country of embarkation at a cost to the airline.
This regulation, however, does not apply to passengers who transited through these countries, a notice from the committee disclosed.
Consequently, authorities also advised Nigerians to avoid any non-essential international travels to any country at this period and specifically to countries that are showing a rising number of cases and deaths.
Nigerians and those with a permanent residence permit who visited the countries preceding travel to Nigeria would be made to undergo seven days of mandatory quarantine in a government-approved facility at the point-of-entry city and at a cost to the passenger.
He explained that such passengers within 24 hours of arrival must take a COVID-19 PCR test and if positive, the passenger would be admitted within a government-approved treatment centre, in line with national treatment protocols.
If negative, the passenger would continue to remain in quarantine and made to undergo a repeat PCR test on day 7 of the quarantine.
According to him, passengers arriving in Nigeria from other destinations must observe a 7-day self-isolation at the final destination, carry out a COVID-19 PCR test on day 7 at a selected laboratory and would be monitored for compliance to isolation protocol by appropriate authorities.
The SGF said the PSC, after due consideration, has, therefore, approved the implementation of the measures and has reduced the validity period of pre-boarding COVID-19 PCR test for all Nigeria-bound passengers from 96 hours to 72 hours, adding that henceforth, PCR test results older than 72 hours before departure would not be accepted.
Grim Situation in Brazil, India and Turkey
Brazil surpassed 400,000 deaths linked to COVID-19 on Friday, the second-highest total in the world after the United States, and it has recorded more than 14.6 million infections to date.
More than half of those deaths were recorded in 2021 alone, while April was the deadliest month since the virus first began spreading in Brazil last year.
In India, it broke its previous deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic yet with another 3,689 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Sunday marked the fourth straight day India recorded more than 3,000 deaths as the second wave of the pandemic keeps setting morbid new records. Altogether, 215,542 people have died from COVID-19 in the country.
Healthcare systems are overwhelmed and a shortage of medical oxygen has emerged as the most serious challenge.
For Turkey, after more than a year of fighting against the coronavirus pandemic, it has finally to imposed a full lockdown for the first time as cases skyrocket more than 5,000 per day.
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