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Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Nigerian Government Instruct Nigerians in UK to Undergo '£350 COVID-19 Test' Before Evacuation

Nigerians in the UK are calling out the Nigerian High Commission ...
Nigerians living in the United Kingdom, UK must undergo a £350-that's nearly N166,000-testing for coronavirus before they can be evacuated, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission says.
Nigerians affected have expressed displeasure at the latest requirement, saying it was not part of conditions initially given to them.
It comes amidst concerns that many Nigerians in the UK may not meet testing conditions of the UK's National Health Service and it would be difficult for them to be tested through the NHS.
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The commission suggests using a private coronavirus laboratory test, said to cost £350.
"We understand that it may be difficult through the NHS as some may not meet the NHS conditions. However, Nigerians in the UK interested in having a private COVID-19 laboratory test within the United Kingdom can use Private laboratory, one of which is COVID19@mobihealthinternational.com or contact Dr Funmi Adewara on +447753656688," the commission said in a memo.
"This is a Public Health England-approved COVID-19 testing kit. Laboratory results are said to be within 3-5 working days. The test is for patients 16 years and older. So, you are free to make your options and decisions, as we look forward to bringing you back home. You will not be allowed to board without having done the COVID - 19 Test," it stated.
When contacted Adewara, named in the memo, confirmed the kit costs £350, that is N155,750, using CBN exchange rate of £1 to N445 .
NiDCOM says the airlines will need between 100 and 150 people to evacuate at a reasonable fee.
The commission has begun receiving applications for evacuation but will not begin testing until the applications reach 100.
It says the cost of testing, paid by prospective evacuees, would be refunded if it is not able to get 100 applications.
Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ferdinand Nwonye confirmed that the mission in London has confirmed that those who are willing to be evacuated would be tested but what is however not confirmed is if those who are covid-19 positive would be put on the same aircraft with those who are negative.
Some 100 people so far have indicated interest in leaving the UK, and another 45 in the US, according to the commission.
Last week, the foreign affairs ministry instructed its missions to compile lists of Nigerians abroad who may want to return in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak.
It said they would go into 14-day mandatory isolation upon return to Nigeria.

According to a memo sent to Nigerians, the High Commission said the Nigerian citizens can get their test done via public medical facilities or through private medical outfits that have the test kits. The Commission in the memo suggested two private medical outfits Nigerians can contact for a private COVID-19 test. The private test kit is said to cost £350 (N140, 000).

“This is a Public Health England-approved COVID-19 testing kit. Laboratory results are said to be within 3-5 working days. The test is for patients 16 years and older. So, you are free to make your options and decisions, as we look forward to bringing you back home. You will not be allowed to board without having done the COVID – 19 Test,” the memo read in part

The Commission did not, however, state whether those that tested positive and negative would be flown back together.  The Commission added that it has started receiving applications for evacuation but will not begin testing for COVID-19 until there are about 100 applications. It says the cost of testing, paid by prospective evacuees, would be refunded if it is not able to get 100 applications.

About 100 Nigerians have reportedly indicated an interest in leaving the UK and another 45 in the US.  

The Federal government last week announced plans to evacuate Nigerians in high-risk countries back home but those who wish to return would bear the financial implications and must be quarantined for 14 days upon their arrival in Nigeria.

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