Nigeria slams $3,500 fine on airlines flying passengers from UK, South Africa without COVID-19 compliance

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    Any airline which brings in a passenger from the United Kingdom and South Africa who does not meet new COVID-19 requirements will pay $3,500 fine with effect from December 28, 2020, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority has announced.

    That is not all, the airline may be required to return non-Nigerian defaulting passengers to point of embarkation for non compliance to Nigerian government’s rules concerning the United Kingdom and South Africa.

    UK and South Africa are the two countries which have reported the emergence of new variants of the coronavirus, which unlike earlier strains are very devastating and can kill patients in matter of hours of infection.

    The NCAA in its latest AOL issued  and signed by  the Director General , NCAA, Musa Nuhu, also said  that repeated non-compliance by any airline will lead to a suspension of the airlines’ approval or permit to fly into the country.

    According to a notice by the director gendralto all indigenous and foreign operators flying into Nigeria, passengers flying from the United Kingdom and South Africa must present Pre-departure permit to fly/ QR Code generated  from Nigeria international travel portal and a documentary evidence of a Negative Covid-19 PCR test result done within 96 hours of boarding.

    The notice, which is also addressed to Country and Accountable Managers of all airlines, said government through the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 has reviewed the quarantine protocols to include that passengers originating from both UK and SA would be received and processed separately by public health authorities.

    The Notice reads : “With the recent spike in cases of Covid-19 in Nigeria and the reported transmissible new variant of the virus in the United Kingdom and South Africa, the Nigerian government through Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 has reviewed the quarantine protocols”.

    “ Passengers originating from  United Kingdom (UK) and South Africa: For flights and passengers originating from United Kingdom (UK) and South Africa with final destination being Nigeria the following shall apply: ”Passengers must present the following two documents in order to be allowed to board their flights to Nigeria: (a) Pre-departure permitto fly/ QR code generated from the Nigeria International travel portal (https://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng) showing evidence of payment for the post arrival day 7 COVID-19 PCR test and (b) Documentary evidence of a Negative COVID-19 PCR result done within 96 hours(4days) of boarding from verifiable laboratory or health facility.”

    “On arrival in Nigeria, passengers will be received and processed separately by public health authorities. All passengers will be required to self isolate for 7 days after arrival followed by COVID-19 PCR test. Passengers with a post arrival Negative COVID-19 PCR result can exit self isolation and further management. A dedicated register of arriving passengers from the United Kingdom and South Africa will be opened and enhanced for surveillance and active enforcement of these protocols”. According to the NCAA, the rules apply to all airlines with passengers originating from the United Kingdom and South Africa regardless of transit arrangements.  It also said the new rules are applicable to scheduled and non scheduled flights from the United Kingdom and South Africa.

    The NCAA further clarified that the earlier quarantine protocol which became effective from 18th September 2020 shall continue to subsist for flights originating from other countries except for the validity of the Pre-departure PCR test result which will now be 96 hours from date of departure.

    On non-compliance, the regulator said ,” Punitive measures shall be taken against airlines who fail to comply with this All Operators Letters.  The punitive measures shall include but not limited to the following: “(i) Airlines shall be fines $3,500 (Three thousand five hundred dollars) for each defaulting passenger. (ii)Airlines may be required to return non-Nigerian defaulting passengers to point of embarkation. (iii) Repeated non-compliance by any airline will lead to the suspension of the airline’s approval/permit to fly into the country.

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