NIGERIA’S Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 has decided to step up the implementation of its travel restriction guidelines by threatening to apprehend those who defy the quarantine protocols and forcefully detain them.
Fortunately for Nigeria, she has been spared the worst of the coronavirus pandemic but the government has ensured that its restrictions are in line with international guidelines. However, Nigerians have been very nonchalant about the pandemic, ignoring guidelines on testing, social distancing, wearing facemasks and going into quarantine after travelling.
On January 27, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Covid-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021 into law, establishing clear guidelines when it comes to travel. Apart from establishing guidelines for testing and quarantine after travel, the new law prohibits gatherings of more than 50 persons in enclosed spaces except for religious purposes, in which case the gathering shall not exceed 50% capacity of the space.
However, with Nigerians defying these guidelines as if they do not exist, the PTF has said it will apprehend, quarantine and ensure inbound passengers disobeying the Covid-19 protocols bear the cost of testing for the coronavirus. Dr Mukhtar Mohammed, the PTF national incident manager, said the body will apply the full force of the law which includes fines and imprisonment.
Dr Mohammed added: “The PTF is aware of the report of syndicates at some international airports outside Nigeria which specialise in providing fake results to innocent Nigerians who are travelling back home. While investigating the matter, I will like to reiterate that it is the responsibility of passengers returning to Nigeria to ensure that they are tested before they start returning.
“You cannot be given a negative result when your samples have not been taken, please understand this and comply,” He added that all this is being done to ensure that people travel safely and when they return to the country they do not constitute a nuisance to their loved ones and the community.