Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 pandemic has said it would slam a $3,500 fine per passenger on airlines that fail to comply with international flight protocols against the spread of the virus.

National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu, made this disclosure while reeling out the new protocols for international flights into Nigeria during yesterday’s briefing by the task force.

He also said passengers who were on self-quarantine but failed to show up for a repeat of the PCR (polymerise chain reaction)  test would  have his/her name on international watchlist and electronic passport suspended.

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Aliyu, who explained that the new protocols would be strictly applicable to passengers coming into the country from foreign countries, also said the PTF had come to the conclusion that it would now be safe to shorten the isolation period for in-coming passengers from 14 days to eight days from August 29.

“From August  29, travellers will be required to pay for their COVID-19 test in-country. We are developing a national payment portal, which will link to the current Lagos payment portal that is already active We will continue with the policy of ensuring that airlines only board passengers without symptoms of COVID-19 and with negative PCR result. Airlines will be fined $3,500 per passenger if they fail to comply with pre-boarding COVID-19 requirements.

“On arrival in-country, passports will no longer be retained by the Nigerian Immigration Service, rather, passengers will be allowed to proceed and exit the airport once they can show evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR result, evidence of payment for a PCR result in-country and where possible and where we have been able to sort this health questionnaire form that has been submitted either manually or electronically,” he said.