The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 pandemic has advised Nigerians abroad, who might be planning on coming home for the Christmas festivities to shelf the plan for now.
The advice is part of the PTF’s strategy to minimise incoming travellers from other parts of the world, especially countries currently battling with new waves of COVID-19.
The task force’s National Coordinator, Dr. Sani Aliyu, who stated these during its weekly media briefing in Abuja, however, clarified that if the reason for coming home is essential, such travellers should be ready to observe all prescribed guidelines by the PTF, including pre-travel and post-travel testings as well as the observation of seven days self-isolation.
He warned that Nigeria would not relax its COVID-19 guidelines and protocols because of the festivities, saying the country cannot afford another wave of COVID-19 as being seen in Europe and the Americas.
“We know that we are going into the Christmas period. The PTF is already looking at steps to minimise the surge in passengers’ numbers we see during this period.
“But this will primarily be by discouraging people from non-essential travels. If you do not need to travel, remain in the country during the period.
“If you are outside the country, now is not the time to start coming in on holiday. If you do have to come into the country on holiday, be aware that you have to do the mandatory seven days isolation before you show yourself anywhere within the country and you have to be tested and confirmed to be negative to exit self-isolation.
“We will not be relaxing the rules simply because it is holiday season,” he said.
Warning about the risks associated with indiscriminate non-essential international travels, Aliyu recalled that of the first 5,000 plus passengers tested on arrival into the country after international flights resumed, about 105 of them tested positive to the virus.
He said with about 5,000 to 7,000 passengers arriving in the country every day, “the potential is that we could have up to 150 new cases being introduced into the country every day”.