By Emmanuel Adigwe
The PTF Coordinator, on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, has stated that the new protocol for the evacuation of Nigerians abroad who are willing to return home.
Aliyu, disclosing the guidelines at the daily press briefing by the panel in Abuja stated that the Federal Government will no more pay the transport fares of the intending evacuees and their accommodation when they arrive home and they must test negative of coronavirus before they are allowed to board the Nigerian-bound flight.
He also stated that there are over 4,000 Nigerians abroad willing to come back home and their passports will be collected by immigration officials for the 14 days period of their self-isolation.
He said: “It is essential that this time around we get it right. It is also important that we make the best use of the public resources available to us so that we have an arrangement that is sustainable that would allow the more than 4,000 Nigerians that are currently outside the country to come in and join their families.
“At the same time, the PTF has the responsibility of mitigating risk and making sure that we do not increase the number of cases of COVID-19 we have in the country or increase the risk of transmission.
“The key part of the proposal is that there will be a need for Nigerians that are currently outside the country to undergo PCR test for COVID-19 before they board. This test needs to be valid for at least 14 days.
“In other words, if the test is done beyond 14 days it will not be accepted. And prior to boarding, they will be required to provide an undertaking that they will follow the necessary precaution and they will need to stay in Lagos or Abuja and make arrangements for their own accommodation in these two cities for the period of 14 days.
“The main difference with what we have been doing in the past is that, unlike in the past, we will not be responsible for the transportation or the accommodation of Nigerians coming in. They will need to make their arrangements of staying in Lagos or Abuja not only for the period of testing but also for the period of self-isolation.
“But if they wish to stay at home, they will be provided to undergo self-isolation at home; they will be tested when they arrive. They would have had a test; it has to be negative before they board the flight.
“When they board the flight and come into the country within 72 hours they will have a repeat test to make sure they have not developed COVID-19.
“They will now be followed up through a strict process of supervised isolation where they will be contacted on a regular basis everyday and monitored for the presence of symptoms that might require them to be taken into treatment if they subsequently become positive.”