The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has directed all airlines operating in Nigeria to issue health declaration forms to their passengers and crew members before arriving Nigerian airports, or risk being sanctioned.
The General Manager (Public Relations) of the regulatory body, Sam Adurogboye, gave this directive in a statement issued on Thursday.
According to him, this had become necessary following the failure of some airlines operating international and regional flights in Nigeria to provide health declaration forms, also known as passengers’ self-reporting forms, to their customers.
Adurogboye stated that the NCAA had issued a letter to that effect to all airlines and other stakeholders in the industry.
“In view of the above, airlines are to remind passengers to provide factual address and phone numbers to enhance contact tracing in case there is a need to do so,” the statement read.
He explained that the health declaration forms would be retrieved and evaluated by the personnel of the Port Health Services on the arrival of the passengers and crew members, and subsequently returned to the airlines at the various international airports in the country.
According to the agency’s spokesman, failure to comply with the NCAA directive would attract stiff penalties, as the regulatory body would not slack in implementing it.
Why this matters: The first case of the coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa was confirmed in Nigeria last week. The patient, a 44 year old Italian, arrived in Nigeria aboard a Turkish Airlines flight from Milan en route Istanbul. Since then, efforts have been made to trace all passengers aboard the flight.
The Lagos State government said it was yet to trace all of the 158 passengers, who came in contact with the Italian diagnosed, as some of the passengers aboard the Turkish airliner had travelled to other states in Nigeria, while others had gone back to Europe.
The government added that some of the passengers, who were contacted on the telephone, gave “false information” making it even more difficult to trace and examine them.