Home Top Stories Finally, FG relaxes COVID-19 travel protocol, makes use of face mask discretionary

Finally, FG relaxes COVID-19 travel protocol, makes use of face mask discretionary


By Chibuike Nwabuko

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Federal Government has announced the relaxation of the COVID-19 travel protocols, including the use of face masks, for air passengers and other stakeholders in the country.

The Minister of Aviation Sen. Hadi Sirika made the announcement on his official Twitter handle @hadisirika on Monday.

His twee reads: “Glad to announce that Government has abolished Permission to travel QR code. Use of face masks is now discretionary and travel PCR tests are suspended. Aviation will boom once again.”

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in a letter dated 12th December 2022 gave comprehensive details of the revised travel protocol.

The letter, which was signed by the Director-General of NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu was addressed to all aviation service providers.

The letter is titled: “Revised COVID-19 Public Health Guidelines for all Aviation Service Providers (Domestic and International Operations).”

The letter reads: “The prevalence of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria and most parts of the world has remained at a low level for a sustained period.

“The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC) has therefore revised the COVID-19/ Public Health guidelines.

For domestic operations, it stated: “The wearing of facemasks inside airport terminal buildings and onboard aircraft by airport workers, passengers, and crew members is no longer mandatory.

“Wearing facemasks by passengers onboard aircraft or inside airport terminal buildings is discretionary but recommended.

“Persons aged 60 years and above, immunocompromised (e g. due to organ transplant, cancer, etc), those with co-morbidities (eg. heart disease, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, etc), are advised to use facemasks, wash their hands with water and soap, use hand alcohol-based sanitizers, and avoid large gatherings.”

“Disinfection of bags at the entrance of terminal buildings is no longer required.

“Airlines are therefore required to resume serving catering (meals and drinks) on board aircraft.

“Maintaining social distancing at airport terminal buildings is no longer mandatory.

“Facilities and conveyances are advised to maintain good environmental hygiene, good ventilation, and encourage good hand and respiratory hygiene.

The letter continued: “The use of alcohol-based sanitizer by passengers and airport workers is recommended.

“Boarding and disembarkation protocols are to be maintained.

For international operations, NCAA stated that all requirements for domestic operations shall apply.

For COVID-19 travel testing, it stated: “Pre-departure and post-arrival COVID-19 PCR tests are no longer required for all passengers irrespective of vaccination status. PCR tests required for all passengers who are partially or not fully vaccinated have been suspended”.

For the health declaration form, NCAA said: “Permission to travel QR code is no longer required. A simplified health questionnaire form (non-COVID-19 specific) shall be completed by all passengers traveling to Nigeria preferably pre-departure on the Nigerian International Travel Portal (NITP).

“Passengers who fail to fill the health questionnaire on the NITP pre-departure will be required to fill the health questionnaire either onboard the aircraft prior to landing or at the airport terminal building upon arrival.

“All other COVID-19 quarantine/travel requirements are hereby made optional.”

NCAA also stated that this current All Operators Letter (AOL supersedes previous AOLs issued on COVID-19 for domestic and international operations.

It said all aviation service providers are required to comply with the above requirements, noting that non-compliance by any aviation service provider with the AOL will attract appropriate sanctions. It added that the AOL takes effect immediately.

Sundiata Post recalls that government had imposed the mandatory COVID-19 protocols as safety measures following the outbreak of the corona virus pandemic (COVID-19) in 2019.

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