The Federal Government has suspended further evacuation of stranded Nigerians abroad.
The development, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama is to allow take-off of a new policy on evacuation of Nigerians.
Onyeama said henceforth evacuated Nigerians would not have to go straight into 14-day government monitored isolation if they test negative from their country of origin.
The Minister said the new policy will take effect from next week.
Consequently, he said further evacuation process has been suspended to give way for the take- off of the new policy.
He said with the new policy evacuees will have to be tested at most nine days before their flight take off.
He said those who test positive will not be allowed on the flight
The new policy, he said will give the government enough latitude to fly more Nigerians home.
Nigeria has evacuated 989 stranded citizens with 265 from United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom (253); United States (160); Saudi Arabia (292) and Lebanon (57).
He said the evacuation was suspended to give room for new measures that would require citizens returning from overseas to get tested and self-isolate at home rather than in selected hotels.
“There is going to be a change in that protocol and that is going to affect the timing of any further evacuation we are going to undertake,” he said.
“Anybody that is going to be evacuated will first of all undergo a test from the countries they are leaving from, at least five days before travel and not later than nine days before.
“That will be a pre-condition for boarding the flights to Nigeria. And if they are positive, they will not be able to board the flight.
“On arrival in Nigeria, Aliko Dangote and his other partners will have in place these units where they will take samples from the passengers coming in and they will retain their passports.
“The passengers will then be able to go home and not into prescribed hotels to self-isolate.
“Results from those samples will then be ready within a day or two; those who are positive will then be taking in for isolation.
“The whole issue of quarantining in hotels will no longer be necessary. This can also mean more people can also come back more frequently, and it will be a lot easier than it has been up to now.
“What we have been asked to do is to cease or suspend all evacuations for now until this new structure is put into place. We are very hopeful that maybe by next week, we should be able to commence evacuation.”