The government said the decision was taken after a careful review of the pandemic situation in the three countries.
The Nigerian government has removed South Africa, Brazil and Turkey from the list of restricted countries with an embargo placed on inbound non-Nigerian passengers.
According to the chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, the decision was taken after a careful review of the pandemic situation in the three countries.
“Over several months, four countries were placed on high-level restrictions for travellers from such countries. The PSC has, after a review of the developments in these countries, decided to remove South Africa, Turkey, and Brazil from the restricted list,” Mr Mustapha said.
The Nigerian government, on May 2, 2021, announced a temporary ban on non-Nigerian passengers who have been in Brazil, India, or Turkey within 14 days of intended arrival into Nigeria.
South Africa was also added to the list in June following an increase in COVID-19 cases and the delta variant’s presence, which continues to wreak havoc around the world.
The government noted that precautionary measures are necessary to mitigate the risk of importation of variants of concern and will break the chain of transmission to the population.
Nigerian passengers from these countries are also expected to fulfil some stringent conditions before they are allowed into the country.
But earlier in September, the government removed India from the list when it felt there were “signs of significant improvement in the coronavirus infection management in the country.”
Meanwhile, prior to the lifting of the restrictions, the federal government had expressed regret over the attitude of some Nigerians who it alleged flew into the country from these countries initially tagged as ‘high risk’ but failed to observe the mandatory protocols put in place.
On September 28, the steering committee announced the suspension of international passports for one year of about 2,000 travellers who it claimed flouted the country’s COVID-19 travel protocols.
UK travel protocols
The PSC also reacted to the recent ease of the stringent COVID-19 protocols by the UK government on Nigerians visiting the United Kingdom, describing it as a welcome development.
Nigerians visiting the UK had been experiencing difficulties as they are made to pay for two additional COVID-19 tests upon arrival in the UK and also pay for quarantine even after they had already been fully vaccinated against the pandemic in their home country.
“As you are aware, the UK has eased restrictions on fully vaccinated travellers from Nigeria to the UK with effect from 11th October,” Mr Mustapha said during Wednesday’s briefing.
“Nigeria welcomes this development and assures that the PSC shall continue to review Nigeria’s protocols based on global developments, science and national experience. A revised protocol will be issued in the next 24 hours,” he said.