COVID-19: Nigeria to urge travelers to submit passports upon arrival

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In this photo taken on Jan. 24, 2019, Denis Wolok, the father of 1-month-old Eva's father, shows the child's U.S. passport during an interview with The Associated Press in Hollywood, Fla. Every year, hundreds of pregnant Russian women, like Wolok's wife, Olga Zemlyanaya, travel to the United States to give birth so that their child can acquire all the privileges of American citizenship. (AP Photo/Iuliia Stashevska)

The Federal Government has declared that travellers to Nigeria are now required to submit their passports with the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) for two weeks pending the verification of their COVID-19 status.

The directive is contained in a circular addressed to all diplomatic, consular and international organisations accredited to Nigeria in line with the revised protocol for evacuating Nigerians stranded abroad developed by the presidential task force on COVID-19.

The revised quarantine protocol states that on arrival at the airport, travellers will be required to fill in a self-reporting form and go through the normal port health screening where they will be provided information on where to present themselves for sample collection with within 72 hours of arrival.

It said returning passengers are expected to self-isolate for 14 days and remain in the city/state where the point of entry is located (Lagos or Abuja) but persons who are unable to remain in the stated locations for the period of self-quarantine may return to their states of residence only after their samples had been collected and had tested negative for COVID-19.

“Passengers are required to submit their international passports for clearance through the Nigeria Immigration System’s Migrants Identification Data Analysis System (MIDAS),” it said.

“The biodata page including passenger’s picture will be forwarded to the COVID-19 PCR Sample Collection Centre to enable proper identification before sample collection.

“Passengers will be cleared through the Nigeria Immigration Service System’s Migrant Identification and Data Analysis System and their passports retained until after successful completion of 14 days self-quarantine, except diplomatic passport holders.

“Passports will be retained until completion of the 14 days self-isolation/quarantine period; passengers will be allowed to go home at their own cost, but must present themselves at the sample collection center at the allocated time; samples will be taken, and a COVID-19 PCR test done.

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“Passengers are advised to remain in the City/State where the point of entry (POE) is located until the end of the 14 days self-isolation /quarantine and remain reachable during this period.

“If not resident in Lagos, passengers shall make arrangements for accommodation at their own cost. Please note that the federal government will not be responsible for providing accommodation or transportation to the place of abode.

“Persons who test POSITIVE for COVID-19 will be transferred to Treatment Centers and travelers reporting or developing symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival, or during screening will not be allowed to self-quarantine and will be placed in institutional quarantine.

“Persons who have completed the 14 days self-isolation will have an exit interview by phone on the 14th day by the monitoring team.

“If this is satisfactory, their details will be forwarded to the Nigeria Immigration Service to enable the release of their passports upon completion of the 14 days self -isolation/quarantine; and passengers may make alternative arrangements to collect their passports from the Nigeria Immigration Service, such as via special delivery, DHL etc.”

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