Worried by the second wave of COVID-19 already forcing another lockdown in places like France and the United Kingdom, the Federal Government has disclosed stiffer sanctions, including a six months ban for evaders of the mandatory Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests.
Meanwhile, a local carrier, Air Peace airlines has received another ERJ-145 from C-check. The aircraft, with registration number 5N-BVD, is one of the several stuck overseas due to the COVID-19 disruption.
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 raised the alarm over potential second wave in Nigeria, giving travellers’ growing apathy for COVID-19 tests.
The PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, expressed sadness at the failure of some Nigerians who arrived from abroad to present themselves for the in-country PCR test, which they signed up to and paid for before arrival.
Mustapha disclosed that available statistics showed that only one in every three passengers had shown up for the in-country test. He warned that, henceforth, the government would have to suspend the passports of travellers that refuse to show up for their PCR tests on arrival into Nigeria after the specified seven days of isolation.
“As you may recall, the PTF announced the guidelines on the reopening of the airspace and the obligations of arriving passengers. The PTF similarly announced sanctions as a consequence of any infraction.
“Having observed serious non-compliance to the level of 65 per cent, the need has arisen to activate the sanctions, which include the suspension of the passports of such defaulting individuals for a period of six months minimum,” he said.
National Coordinator of PTF, Sani Aliyu, who disclosed that states and the Federal Capital Territory had been given resources to tackle the disease, expressed gratitude to all the governors for opening up sample collection centres across the country.
“Every state has received at least N1 billion, the state governments have received the largest single bulk of the PTF intervention. As of today, a total of N50 billion went to states. So, we have enough resources at the state level to be able to push for increased testing and improved surveillance.
“We will continue to work with state governments and urge them to use these resources for the purpose that the Federal Government has given. We have to invest in making sure that the pandemic comes down. There is no doubt we have not flattened the curve yet.
“For those of us that follow the numbers very closely, despite the fact that we are not testing enough, if you follow the number on a week to week basis, you would have noticed a change in the trajectory in the last one week based on the numbers released,” he said.