The Federal Government says that vaccination and testing for COVID-19 will begin upon the arrival of passengers entering the country, after the resurgence of cases worldwide.

Jeffrey Okatubo, director of Port Health Services (PHS), who made this known at a ministerial press conference organized by the federal health ministry in Abuja, said port health authorities were continuing surveillance at ports of entry to prevent the importation of the virus.

Okatubo said the country currently conducts temperature checks on all incoming passengers and visual observations, through which it has been able to detect some cases of COVID-19.

“But very soon, we will expand that; soon we will begin to verify the vaccination status of each passenger entering the country. And for passengers who are not vaccinated, they may need to be vaccinated upon arrival. Soon we will have positions where we will carry out the vaccination of these people.

“We will have a rapid diagnostic test for suspected passengers where we will test those people for COVID-19 and if they test positive, they will be transported to an appropriate facility for further evaluation,” he explained.

The director further expressed concern that passengers were not completing the online health mobilization form and urged passengers to do so or fill out hard copies at airports.

In his speech, Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, said that new sub-variants of Omicron, BA.5.2 and BF.7, as well as XBB.1.5, have not yet been detected in the country. He added that there is also no increase in hospitalizations and serious illnesses.

Also Read: COVID-19: Nigeria to Test Arriving Passengers Using RTD

However, the minister urged Nigerians to get vaccinated and take all precautionary measures, including hand hygiene, use of masks, use of disinfectants, among others, to avoid a fourth wave.

“I want to re-emphasize that community transmission of COVID-19 is ongoing, and I urge all citizens to take the opportunity to get fully vaccinated. I want to assure you that the vaccine is safe and that everyone should be vaccinated while maintaining all non-pharmaceutical preventative measures,” he said.

Also speaking, Faisal Shuaib, CEO of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), reported that Nigeria has a vaccine balance of 28,968,045 doses and more vaccines are still expected in the coming weeks.

“Therefore, we encourage all Nigerians to visit the nearest government facility to ensure they are up to date with their first, second or booster dose. COVID-19 vaccines are available, free and safe,” he urged.

As of Monday, January 9, 2023, the ED reported that 76,161,470 eligible people received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines in Nigeria, representing 65.7% of the eligible population, while 64,094,498 people received the full vaccine, representing 55.3% of the eligible population. population.

He also announced that the country registered an increase in the number of eligible population from 111,773,503 to 115,983,921 as a result of the increase in the number of people who turned 18 years old.