As part of plans to prevent the outbreak of the deadly corona virus in Nigeria, the federal government has urged citizens to jettison plans of traveling to China until further notice, unless the purpose of traveling is of extreme importance. Surveillance across Nigerian operating airlines and international airports were stepped up by aviation regulatory agencies on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, to contain any case of the virus. The government also went further to advice citizens or persons arriving Nigeria from China or any country where the disease outbreak is high to self-isolate themselves by staying indoors for at least two weeks in their homes on arrival in other to assist in preventing the spread of the corona virus.
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The Nigerian government which has assured citizens of its readiness to strengthen surveillance at five international airports in the West African nation made its position on the issue known during resumed Federal Executive Council meeting. Five of the international airports identified by the federal government include Lagos, Enugu, Rivers, Kano, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. After nine hours of council deliberations which were presided over by President Buhari, Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, urged Nigerians to delay planned trips to China for safety reasons until all issues concerning the outbreak of the virus are addressed adequately.
Subsequently, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has put all airline operators, Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP) and Aerodrome Operators in the country on alert. Also, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has equally intensified preventive measures by improving primary screening of all passengers at international airports located in Abuja and Lagos State. Passengers identified with basic signs of the disease are quickly referred to secondary screening, all in a bid to ensure the disease which is highly contagious is not let into the most populous black nation on earth. Some of the countries that have made plans to evacuate or have evacuated their citizens from China include the United States of America, France, Japan, Britain, South Korea, Morocco, Germany, Kazakhstan, Canada, Russia, the Netherlands, Myanmar and Australia.
In a letter to service providers, the Acting Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Captain Sidi Abdullahi, made calls for high level of vigilance by airlines (especially those operating regional and international flights), the traveling public, and all designated point of entries (POEs). Part of the letter includes a mandate by the NCAA to Pilots in Command (PIC) of aircrafts to report to Air Traffic Control (ATC) any suspected cases of communicable disease on board an aircraft which is duly in line with Nigerian Civil Regulation Rules (Nig. CARs).
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Where there is a suspected case of communicable disease on board an aircraft, the aircrew is to fill the aircraft General Declaration (Gen Dec) in line with Nig. CARs 220.127.116.11 and Annex 8 of International Health Regulations (IHR 2005). A completed aircraft General Declaration is to be submitted to the Port Health Services (PHS) on arrival at the designated point of entry…Sick passengers on board an aircraft would be required to fill a Passenger Locator form in line with Nig.CARs 18.104.22.168. The completed Passenger Locator Forms are to be submitted to Port Health Services (PHS) on arrival at the designated point of entrySidi Abdullahi
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