The Federal Government says about 20,216 in-bound travellers who arrived the country have failed to show up for post-arrival COVID-19 test.
Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, stated this at Monday press briefing in Abuja.
He said that the figure, which represented 31 percent of in-bound travellers, could put members of the community at risk and further breach the protocols they signed up to.
“You will also recall that the PTF established Nigeria International Travel Portal for the control of possible importation of the virus.
“Statistics show that a good percentage of in-bound travellers have breached the travel protocols thereby making surveillance and testing suffer undue setbacks.
“As of date, 163,818 inbound travellers have been captured on the portal; Out of 44,189 (69 percent) that were due for post-arrival test representing 59 per cent, 20,216 (31 per cent) have not shown up for the post-arrival test thereby endangering members of the community and breaching the protocols they signed up to,” he said.
He recalled that since the international airspace was opened in September 2020, the average number of daily imported infections brought into the country in the last 90 days was estimated to be about seven cases, compared to the recent 100-150 reported new infections in the community.
He further stressed that since the beginning of community transmission, the test positivity rate among in-bound travellers arriving Lagos has recently risen to 6.3 per cent.
“The PTF has concluded arrangements with Nigeria Immigration Service to impose sanctions on these defaulters for breaching the public health protocols, within the ambit of the law.
“For example, it shall work with the Nigeria Immigration Service to impose sanctions on all in-bound travellers who violated the travel protocols and endangered the lives of their loved ones and other citizens by refusing to take the post-arrival test,” he said.
According to Mustapha, there is an ongoing discussion between the PTF on COVID-19 and the NIS to decide on the restriction of international travels due to the discovery of new strains of the virus in certain countries.
He maintained that the PTF, aviation and health authorities including the World Health Organisation are assessing the situation closely and would take a position as soon as a cogent scientific basis is established.
“The protection of Nigerians remains our primary concern and we reassure Nigerians of our resolve not to relent. Over the past four briefings, the PTF has been raising the alert flag on the rising number of infections in the country and the possibility of a second wave arriving at our shores.
“Recent epidemiology records confirm to the PTF that Nigeria is now facing a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide which is similar to the second wave of infections occurring in other countries across the world.
“Particularly, Lagos, Kaduna and the FCT have emerged as the new epicentres during this period, with over 70 per cent of all confirmed cases,” he said.
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