The Presidential Task Force(PTF)on COVID-19 Pandemic has warned against violating international travel COVID-19 protocols, saying violators stand the risk of imprisonment.
PTF National Incident Manager, Dr. Mukhtar Muhammad, who gave the warning on Monday during the task force’s media briefing in Abuja, also noted that the PTF would not fail to prosecute violators.
While he repeated the acceptable procedure for testing procedures for inbound travellers to Nigeria, he explained that besides the fact that violating the travel protocols is a punishable crime in Nigeria, it is also a threat to the family and members of the communities where offenders belong.
He, however, assured that the PTF would continue to monitor the activities of international airlines and laboratories, as well as continue to take actions on travel advisories to ensure that the nation is secured against the pandemic.
“As you may all be aware, the PTF through NCAA had sanctioned and suspended an airline for its failure to comply with testing requirements and travel policies.
“While we explore infrastructure for setting up Rapid Antigen Test (RDT), the standard shall continue to be the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test performed 96 hours from the date of departure and a second PCR test on the 7th day after arrival.
“In the meantime, the PTF will continue to monitor compliance by all international airlines and approved laboratories and take necessary action on travel advisories for national interest and greater public safety.
“Last week, we received report of some passengers, who having violated the entry protocol, were reported to have jumped quarantine. The PTF is taking the necessary steps to ensure timely prosecution of these passengers.
“For the benefit of the public, let me reiterate the protocol for passengers arriving without PCR or those who obtained a fake PCR results. These passengers will be tested on arrival immediately taken to a mandatory seven-day quarantine at designated hotels; at the expiry of which they will have a second COVID-19 test using PCR.
“The passengers will be responsible for all their hotel and laboratory bills as well as be liable to prosecution at the COVID-19 tribunal. Jumping quarantine is a grave offence, which is punishable by imprisonment and PTF will not shirk from prosecuting any violators.
“Nigerians must try to comply with the provisions of our entry protocol, because it is in your own best interest. Remember that if you obtain a fake PCR result and conspire and connived your way through the airport, you will be at a very high risk of taking COVID-19 infection to home to infect your loved ones and the people in your community,” he warned.
On the enforcement of the newly signed Coronavirus Disease Health Protection Regulations 2021, he commended the efforts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in ensuring that residents comply with the regulations and urged states to take a cue, citing areas requiring special attention.
Speaking about the contribution of CACOVID to case management of victims, Muhammad disclosed the donation of some equipment, including cylinders, regulators and trolleys.
According to him, about 1000 cylinders would be distributed free of charge among 12 high-burden states, adding that two oxygen plants had also been equipped to make the gas available free of charge.