The Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 has said that only one out of three passengers have shown up for the in-country test.
Chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr. Boss Mustapha made the disclosure on Tuesday during the weekly briefing.
Mustapha warned that the government would be forced to impose sanctions.
“The PTF has noted with sadness the failure of Nigerians who arrived from abroad to present themselves for the in-country PCR test which they signed up to and paid before arrival. Statistics emerging from our records show that only one out of three passengers have shown up for the in-country test,” he said.
On observed continued violation of COVID-19 flight protocols, the SGF said the federal government would henceforth start imposing sanctions on violators of the protocols, which would include the seizing of the international passports of defaulters.
“As you may recall, the PTF announced the guidelines on the reopening of the airspace and the obligations of arriving passengers. The PTF similarly announced sanctions as a consequence of any infraction.
“Having observed serious non-compliance to the level of 65%, the need has arisen to activate the sanctions which include the suspension of the passports of such defaulting individuals for a period of six months minimum,” he said.
Mustapha said the PTF’s concern of a possible relapse into another wave of the pandemic had been informed by a number of reasons, citing the arrival of persons from other countries where the disease had recently resurged, adding that about 65% of such arrivals had violated guidelines.
He also noted the combination of recent crowd gatherings where recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions were disregarded across the country as well as the rising complacency on account of the low number of daily infection, which he said is responsible for low-risk perception.
“The reasons for concern include the fact that as of Monday, 2/11/2020, global statistics showed the following:
✓ Global cumulative cases: – 47,387,837;
✓ Global number of deaths: – 1,212,479;
✓ The UK and France have continued to struggle with record increases in numbers and have reintroduced total lockdown to control the spread;
“The United States continues to witness record daily increase in a number of confirmed cases especially given the fact that it is in the middle of a Presidential contest; the African Continent has, as at the same date, recorded a cumulative total case count of 1,813,800 (including 43,461 deaths); and; the head of the WHO is reported to have gone into isolation out of an abundance of caution and the need to underscore the importance of contact tracing.
“The PTF at the last briefing cautioned on the need to avoid complacency on account of the low number of infections published daily and the possibility of a second wave. That advice was premised on the fact that risk perception remains very low and sample collection has been on the decline.
“In the midst of all these, the nation has experienced several large gathering events during which the Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions were not really observed. The situation in Europe and the reports from the USA showing the consequences of non-adherence are quite vivid.
“The PTF is highlighting these issues repeatedly because we remain at risk of importation, having opened our airspace and massive spread as a result of the protests. The next week or two remain critical,” he said.