No fewer than 18,000 positive cases of the coronavirus disease were detected from inbound travellers to Nigeria, Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa said on Friday.
This was as he argued that the decision was to ensure a balance in the mandate to protect the health of Nigerians.
Adetifa made this known in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja.
The statement titled, ‘Update in the use of Nigerian International Travel Portal’, explained that the decision to make repeat tests mandatory in Nigeria was based on the review of COVID-19 test positivity data among returnees to Nigeria during the first and subsequent waves of the pandemic.
He said, “The decision to make repeat tests mandatory in Nigeria was based on the review of COVID-19 test positivity data among returnees to Nigeria during the first and subsequent waves of the pandemic.
“This was necessary for ensuring a balance between our mandate to protect the health of Nigerians from more infections and supporting the restart of the economy, including international travel.
“As of January 16, 2022, over 18,000 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded from inbound travellers to Nigeria. Therefore, the associated risk of disease transmission is not trivial.
“The Nigeria International Travel Portal was launched by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 formerly Presidential Task Force, with support from the Coalition Against COVID-19.
“Since the resumption of international flights post-COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria on 5th September 2020, the portal remains an effective means of preventing the importation of COVID-19 via air travel which reduces the risk of further spread of the virus and its variants in the country.
“Since its launch, the NITP has been updated frequently over time and more recently, there was an upgrade in October 2021, to enable a more user-friendly experience for travellers, laboratories, and other users.