March 29, 2023

Lara Adejoro

The Coordinator/Technical Head of the Presidential Steering Committee Secretariat on COVID-19, Dr. Muktar Muhammad, has said that Nigeria still maintains its travel protocol for disease surveillance and to protect the populace.

Muhammed said the COVID-19 protocols have not been fully removed as about 85 countries still required pre-departure testing, 49 other countries required PCR test upon arrival into the country, and 30 countries still required quarantine upon arrival to the countries.

Muhammed said this when he appeared on Channels TV’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ on Tuesday, which was monitored by our correspondent.

He said COVID-19 was not over and relaxing the protocols had to be done safely.

The physician noted that the health declaration form helps to track diseases in the country.

He said, “If we don’t have that health declaration form, the danger is that we will not be able to track not only COVID-19, but other diseases like Ebola.

“With this health declaration form, we will be able to know when the person arrives, where he is going to be located, his phone number, and address, and the system will pick up, between the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, to notify the final destination, whether it is a state or local government.

“We have district surveillance officers who will pick up that person almost immediately.

“Diseases like Ebola can cause havoc in a matter of hours.”

According to him, the health declaration form can be uploaded to the portal within two minutes.

He added that the form helped in the contact tracing mechanism.

“For example, in a plane, we know your seat number, we know who is sitting next to you, and those people are at risk already.

“With that form, we will be able to track them and monitor them because they can also get infected during the transit during the flight and they can also infect other people. So that helps us to pinpoint the people because the disease does not occur immediately,” he said.

Muhammed noted that the health declaration form was also available at the land borders.

“For our current protocol, if you are fully vaccinated, you don’t do anything. You complete the health declaration form and you submit it and you are allowed to board.

“If you are partially vaccinated or you are unvaccinated, that is where the issue comes in. That is where you need to be tested before you board the plane. You need to be tested after you arrive on day two and day three,” he said.

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