The Federal Government, through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has announced a revised COVID-19 travel protocol for air passengers, with the wearing of facemasks deemed no longer mandatory.
This announcement was contained in a letter signed by the director-general of NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu to all aviation service providers, dated December 12, 2022, with Ref: NCAA/DG/AIR/1 1/16/358, titled “Revised COVID-19 Public Health guidelines for all aviation service providers (domestic and international operations)”.
“The prevalence of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria and most parts of the world has remained at a low level for a sustained period. The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC) has, therefore, revised the COVID-19/ public health guidelines as follows:
“For domestic operations, the wearing of facemasks inside the airport terminal buildings and onboard aircraft by airport workers, passengers and crew members is no longer mandatory. Wearing of facemasks by passengers onboard aircraft or inside airport terminal buildings is discretionary but recommended.
“Persons aged 60 years and above, immunocompromised (e.g., due to organ transplant, cancer, etc), those with co-morbidities (e.g., heart disease, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, etc), are advised to use facemasks, wash their hands with water and soap, use hand alcohol-based sanitisers and avoid large gatherings.
“Disinfection of bags at the entrance of terminal buildings is no longer required.
“Airlines are, therefore, required to resume serving catering (meals and drinks) onboard aircraft.
“Maintaining social distancing at airport terminal buildings is no longer mandatory.
“Facilities and conveyances are advised to maintain good environmental hygiene, good ventilation, and encourage good hand and respiratory hygiene,” the letter said.
It advised that the use of alcohol-based sanitiser by passengers and airport workers is recommended. Boarding and disembarkation protocols are to be maintained.
For international operations, it said: “All requirements in ‘A’ above shall apply.
“Pre-departure and post-arrival COVID-19 PCR tests are no longer required for all passengers, irrespective of vaccination status. PCR tests required for all passengers who are partially/not fully vaccinated have been suspended.
“Permission to travel/ QR code is no longer required. A simplified health questionnaire form (non-COVlD-19 specific) shall be completed by all passengers travelling to Nigeria, preferably pre-departure on the Nigerian International Travel Portal (NITP).
“Passengers who fail to fill the health questionnaire on the NITP pre-departure will be required to fill the health questionnaire either onboard the aircraft before landing or at the airport terminal building upon arrival.
“All other COVID-19 quarantine/travel requirements are hereby made optional.
“This AOL supersedes previous AOLs issued on COVID-19 for domestic and international operations,” the letter outlined.
It further called on all “aviation service providers to comply with the above requirements”, warning that non-compliance by any aviation service provider with this AOL “shall attract appropriate sanctions” and finished with “This AOL shall be effective immediately”.