International flights: COVID-19 tests done more than four days before departure not valid, says Sirika

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Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, says passengers who undergo COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests more than four days before their departure date will not be allowed to enter the country.

The minister disclosed this during the presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja, on Thursday.

According to Sirika, all COVID-19 tests must have be done within 96 hours before the departure date.

He also explained that passengers would be required to undergo screening for fever and other symptoms of COVID-19 before boarding international flights.

“All intending travellers to Nigeria must have tested negative for COVID-19 by PCR in country of departure before boarding. This has not changed,” he said.

“The PCR test must be within four days before departure and we prefer 72 hours pre-boarding and note that in certain countries, the PCR test will only be accepted from identified laboratories.

“Tests done more than four days before departure are not valid. This is very important. And persons will not be allowed to board; but for the 72-hours minimum, this is advisory and will not preclude boarding.”

Sirika noted that all passengers will be required to register online with the Nigeria international travel portal.

“Prior to boarding, passengers are requested to upload their COVID-19 PCR negative results on to the national payment portal and bring along an electronic or hard copy of the result for presentation at the airport,” he said.

“At the time of boarding, all travellers will undergo thermal screening for fever and questioned for symptoms of COVID-19. Passengers with COVID-19 related signs and symptoms will not be allowed to board the flight and airlines must only board passengers with negative COVID-19 test results that were done within the stipulated 96 hours before boarding.

“Airlines that board passengers without a negative COVID-19 PCR test, or test result of more than 96 hours prior to boarding, will be sanctioned.”

Commercial flight operations were suspended in March following the confirmation of the index case of COVID-19 on February 27, 2020.

However, while domestic flights resumed in July, the international air space will reopen on September 5, 2020.

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