Within a month since the establishment of the International Travel Portal, over 18, 000 people have entered Nigeria via Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed International Airport, the Presidential Taskforce (PTF) on COVID-19 has said. They were also tested for the Coronavirus.
According to the Coordinator of the PTF on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, “Of the 27,000 plus passengers, 99.8 per cent had a negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test result. The majority, specifically 85 per cent, had no issues with payment on the portal. Of the 15 per cent who had issues, 12 per cent had their issues resolved on arrival.
“It is correct to say that of the 27,000, the majority seamlessly went through the registration, entry, and re-testing process.
“However, with an operation of this scope and scale, there are bound to be issues that will arise; this is an IT system. It’s not perfect; we are humans, talk less of computers,” he explained.
Aliyu said the Travel Portal was still relatively new.
“We didn’t try out the portal but we immediately implemented it because of the pressure for reopening the international airports. Without the travel portal, we would still be struggling to reopen airports safely,” he said.
The coordinator said the PTF have been working collaboratively with public and private sector partners to address the issues and challenges as they arise.
“We are aware of a particular case of a traveler who had been charged multiple times for his PCR test on arrival to Nigeria from Sweden. The online platform failed to record his payment for the re-test in Nigeria due to technical difficulties. As soon as the PTF was aware of his unfortunate experience, we immediately began investigating to resolve the issue. I am happy to state that the person has been refunded all the extra money he paid. In fact, he was paid the same evening we got that information, and the process is now being fine-tuned to prevent such occurrences,” he stated.
Aliyu said that the PTF do sympathise with the frustration travelers have to go through when the system malfunctions or when they experience these challenges.Follow us on social media