Metro & Crime

COVID-19: 200 passports deactivated as Lagos submits names of guidelines’ defaulters

 

….Reduces PCR test cost from N50,400 to N45,250

Muritala Ayinla

The Lagos State Government on Wednesday said that 200 International Passports of  inbound passengers who failed to comply with the safety guidelines have been deactivated by the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC), for a period of one year.

The government said that the defaulters failed to present themselves at the mobile courts after presenting fake PCR tests and COVID vaccination cards and filled in false travel information in an attempt to bypass the national COVID-19 guidelines.

The state’s Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, who disclosed this, said that their names were submitted to  the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC), who deactivated their passports for one year.

Abayomi described their actions as dubious and irresponsible, saying some inbound passengers presented fake PCR tests and COVID vaccination cards and fill in false travel information in an attempt to bypass the national COVID-19 guidelines.

He added that their names will be published in the dailies in the coming week and the next set of names will follow in the coming month. He encourage all those who have received a text message to present themselves at the mobile court to avoid these sanctions.

“It has come to the notice of the state government that certain returning passengers present themselves at the airport either with fake COVID-19 PCR tests or fake vaccination cards or registering as children under 10 years to bypass the National guidelines or providing false COVID related information.

“These acts will not be tolerated as they represent the main catalyst of all the four waves which have had major impact on the state public health systems and the economy. Whilst we understand that it may not have been the fault of passengers but facilitated by unscrupulous individuals assisting them, we have taken a decision not to submit their passports for deactivation by the Presidential Steering Committee, in the first instance, but give them an opportunity to present themselves at our mobile courts to defend themselves and help identify where they are obtaining the fake documents if applicable,” Abayomi said.

He also said that  defaulters would be subject to fines or community service as the acts are criminal in nature.

Abayomi also announced that while the fourth wave of COVID-19 has tapered out, it will continue to ensure heightened public surveillance for coronavirus and ensure access to free PCR testing at all its public health facilities, adding that testing at the designated public health facilities remains free of charge.

The Commissioner also announced a reduction in the cost of COVID-19 PCR test at its accredited private laboratories from N50,400 to N45,250 commencing on January 28, 2022.

Abayomi said the reduction in cost was to cut the expenses to be incurred by citizens who need the PCR tests for travel, work, or other purposes other than COVID symptoms or contact tracing.

The commissioner called on citizens, particularly inbound passengers who are required by law to test on arrival, to reciprocate this gesture by booking, paying and presenting themselves at any of the accredited laboratories’ consortium at approved days for their PCR tests on arrival in Lagos. He added that further reviews will be made in due course, especially as the ongoing COVID vaccination campaign gains momentum.

Abayomi, however, noted that PCR tests at approved public health laboratories and sample collection centers around the state remains absolutely free for citizens who need to test for COVID; either because they have COVID like symptoms or have been exposed to a positive case.

 

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