The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has recommended the use of cards and other options over bank transfers that require 24 hours to process.
The public health institution said this is to ensure seamless use of the Nigeria International Travel Portal (NITP).
The centre, therefore, urged inbound and outbound travellers to adhere strictly to the guidance on the travel portal.
The Director-General, NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, said this in a statement made available on Friday in Abuja.
Adetifa said that the agency was aware of reports of travellers to Nigeria who have experienced delays at the airport for not meeting all the travel requirements as stated on the NITP.
NITP was launched by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC-COVID-19), formerly Presidential Task Force, with support from the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CA-COVID).
Since the resumption of international flights post-COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria on Sept. 5, 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.
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, since its launch.
Adetifa said that registration on the travel portal prior to departure should be done immediately after the negative COVID-19 test result was obtained, preferably 24 hours before the travel date.
“Card payments are recommended over bank transfers especially if the registration on the portal is done less than 24 hours before departure as highlighted by the DISCLAIMER on the travel portal.
“PLEASE NOTE: QR codes for bank transfers are generated after 24hrs while they are immediately generated for card payments.
“Travellers who do not receive their QR code despite making payment should download the Permit to Travel/QR Code using the ‘Get Permit to Travel’ button visible on the top right corner of the portal.”
A link to print the Permit-To-Travel is also sent to the email address of registered travellers, he said.
“Complaints or enquiries should be sent through the following channels: General enquiries: [email protected].
“The above are dedicated communication channels for resolving travel portal related issues,” he recommended.
He however appealed to Nigerians that the NCDC’s Twitter handle (@NCDCgov) was not a channel for handling travel portal queries.
“For more information or FAQs on the travel portal, please visit – https://covid19.ncdc.gov.ng/nitpfaq.
“We recognise that technical systems might have challenges from time to time and we continue to make improvements to optimise the functionality of the travel portal in collaboration with Port Health Services, private laboratories, Sterling Bank and other key stakeholders,” he noted.
The director-general noted that the decision to make repeat tests mandatory in the country 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 16th January 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,” he added.
He stressed that the NCDC remains committed to strengthening Nigeria’s response to COVID-19 and controlling this and other outbreaks.
“We urge the public to remain aware of the risks of COVID-19 and to adhere to the travel protocols put in place by the PSC on COVID-19,” he advised.