Over 18,000 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded from inbound travellers to Nigeria as of 16th January 2022.
Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Dr Ifedayo Adetifa who disclosed this yesterday in a statement entitled, “Update in the use of Nigerian International Travel Portal” explained that the decision to make repeat tests mandatory in Nigeria was based on the review of COVID-19 test positivity data among returnees to Nigeria during the first and subsequent waves of the pandemic.
Adetifa argued that this was necessary for ensuring a balance between our mandate to protect the health of Nigerians from more infections and supporting the restart of the economy including international travel adding that the associated risk of disease transmission is not trivial.
He said, “following complaints and enquiries on the use of the Nigeria International Travel Portal (NITP), the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is making the following clarifications.
“The Nigeria International Travel Portal (NITP) was launched by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC-COVID-19) formerly Presidential Task Force, with support from the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CA-COVID).
“Since the resumption of international flights post-COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria on 5th September 2020, the portal remains an effective means of preventing the importation of COVID-19 via air travel which reduces the risk of further spread of the virus and its variants in the country.
“Since its launch, the NITP has been updated frequently over time and more recently, there was an upgrade in October 2021, to enable a more user-friendly experience for travellers, laboratories, and other users.
“We are aware of reports of travellers to Nigeria who have experienced delays at the airport for not meeting all the travel requirements as stated on the NITP. To ensure seamless use of the travel portal, the NCDC urges the public to adhere strictly to the guidance on the travel portal as summarised below:
Registration on the travel portal prior to departure should be done immediately your negative COVID-19 test result is obtained, preferably 24 hrs before your travel date.
Card payments are recommended over bank transfers especially if the registration on the portal is done less than 24 hours before departure as highlighted by the Disclaimer on the travel portal. Please Note: QR codes for bank transfers are generated after 24hrs while they are immediately generated for card payments.
Travellers who do not receive their QR code despite making payment should download the Permit to Travel/QR Code using the “Get Permit to Travel” button visible on the top right corner of the portal. A link to print the Permit-To-Travel is also sent to the email address of registered travellers.
The NCDC boss said that the agency recognised that technical systems might have challenges from time to time and will continue to make improvements to optimise the functionality of the travel portal in collaboration with Port Health Services, private laboratories, Sterling Bank and other key stakeholders.
He stated that the NCDC and the Federal Ministry of Health remain committed to strengthening Nigeria’s response to COVID-19 and controlling this and other outbreaks and urged the public to remain aware of the risks of COVID-19 and to adhere to the travel protocols put in place by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19.