Nigeria’s federal government has abolished the wearing of facemask by air travellers, aircraft crew and also cancelled COVID-19 PCR test irrespective of vaccination status.
The development was contained in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) review of COVID-19 health guidelines for the aviation industry in the country made available to THISDAY in Lagos on Monday.
The authority in its revised COVID-19 public health guidelines for all aviation service providers for both domestic and international operations signed by the Director-General of NCAA, Musa Nuhu, said the prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria and most parts of the world had remained at a low level for a sustained period.
The NCAA derived its review from the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, which revised the public health guidelines.
It stated that for domestic operations, the PSC has mandated that the wearing of facemasks inside airport terminal buildings and onboard aircraft by airport workers, passengers, and crew members was no longer mandatory, stressing that wearing of, “facemasks by passengers onboard aircraft or inside airport terminal buildings is discretionary but recommended.”
“Persons aged 60 years and above, immunocompromised, and those with co-morbidities are advised to use facemasks, wash their hands with water and soap, use hand alcohol-based sanitisers and avoid large gatherings.
“Also no longer required is the disinfection of bags at the entrance of terminal buildings and maintenance of social distancing at airport terminal buildings,” it added.
The PSC equally mandated airlines to resume catering (meals and drinks) onboard aircraft while the use of alcohol-based sanitiser by passengers and airport workers was recommended.
For international operations, the same requirements as domestic operations are to be applied.
Pre-departure and post-arrival COVID-19 PCR tests have been abolished and are no longer required for all passengers irrespective of vaccination status while PCR tests required for all passengers who are partially or not fully vaccinated have equally been suspended.
Equally significant was that health declaration forms and permission to travel/QR code are no longer required.
Nuhu however stated that a simplified health questionnaire form (non-COVID-19 specific) shall be completed by all passengers travelling to Nigeria preferably pre-departure on the Nigerian International Travel Portal (NITP).
He explained that passengers who fail to fill the health questionnaire on the NITP pre-departure would be required to fill it either onboard the aircraft prior to landing or at the airport terminal building upon arrival.
He warned that failure by any aviation service provider to comply with All Operators Letter (AOL) shall attract appropriate sanction, adding, “This AOL shall be effective immediately.”