FG debunks report of UK returnees paying for COVID-19 test




By Maureen Okon

The Federal Government on Monday described as untrue a media report alleging that Nigerian returnees from the UK were asked to pay for Coronavirus test.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) made this known in a statement by Mr Abdur-Rahman Balogun, its Head of Media and Public Relations Unit.

“The story says that the Federal Government has compelled all returnees from UK to pay for COVID-19 tests as precondition for evacuation.

“This is not true and there was no such directive.

“The true position is that for any returning Nigerian, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) stipulates two conditions, which are in consonance with global health practices,” the commission said.

“The returnees will be tested for  COVID-19 on arrival and will also be quarantined in the home country for 14 days.

“Any of these protocols may change if so directed by NCDC.

“In the UK, there are public and private options where such tests can be carried out.

“It is free in all public institutions in the UK while the price varies from one private laboratory to another.

“The test is however, optional in a private laboratory as there is no compulsion to where the test will be done.

“Undoubtedly, if the NCDC protocol changes, the mission will communicate with the returnees,” it added.

The commission said it would  interest everyone to note that subjecting a returnee to a COVID-19 test was not limited to only the UK but from all parts of the world.

“For instance, out of the 24  Nigerians who recently returned from Togo, one of them tested positive and is still in quarantine.

“Others on isolation at a government facility have been tested again, and after their results, if negative, they will be allowed to leave.

“So, it is totally wrong to assume that the Nigerian government has ordered citizens in the UK to pay N160,000 for COVID-19 Test as a precondition for evacuation.

NIDCOM, therefore, urged the media to “rectify the wrong impression created in the said story and reflect the correct situation in your widely circulated medium”.

The commission applauded Nigerians for adhering to the social distancing instruction issued by the government but noted that “these are difficult times for the  world”.

NIDCOM said it was looking forward to receiving in Nigeria, citizens who had been stranded abroad.

Source: NAN




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