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Nigeria suspends evacuation of citizens stranded abroad

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Nigeria suspends evacuation of citizens stranded abroad

The Federal Government on Wednesday said it is suspending the evacuation of Nigerians stranded abroad until a new protocol developed for their evacuation is activated.

This was disclosed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama at the Wednesday press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.

According to Onyeama, the new arrangement would require citizens returning from overseas to be tested before their flights back home.

He said: “Now, there is going to be a change in that protocol and that is going to affect the timing of any further evacuation that we are going to undertake.

“So, anybody that is going to be evacuated will, first of all, undergo a test from the country they are leaving from, at least five days before travel and not later than nine days before travel.

Read also: Nigerian govt evacuates 292 stranded Nigerians from Saudi Arabia

“That would be a pre-condition for boarding a flight to Nigeria; so a pre-flight test and if it’s positive, of course, they would not be able to get on the flight; if they are negative, they can get on the flight.”

He further disclosed that after the tests abroad, those who tested positive would be required to stay back for treatment, insisting that only individuals who returned negative would be allowed to board the flight.

Furthermore, samples of the returnees would be taken on arrival in the country and their passports confiscated, adding that they would go on self-isolation in their homes, Onyeama explained.

The new protocol is a departure from the old arrangement where returnees were quarantined in hotels for a period of 14 days before being allowed to go home.

The minister also revealed that billionaire businessman, Aliko Dangote and other private sector players had set up testing units which would take samples from passengers coming off the plane, adding that the results would be available within two days.

He also said that anyone who tested negative would still be required to spend more days to complete the 14-day isolation period after which they could collect their passports.

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