The presidency has disclosed that visitors to the presidential villa in Abuja will be required to take rapid COVID tests before they would be allowed in.
This development was confirmed to the state house correspondents by presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu in Abuja on Sunday.
Rapid COVID tests are designed to tell in a few minutes if someone is infected with the virus or not and is recommended for individuals with symptoms, high-risk populations, and healthcare or casual workers.
According to the spokesman, the new regulation became necessary due to the global spike in the rate of the COVID infections, especially the Omicron variant.
Shehu said every visitor, with the exception of some leaders, will be required to take the test free of charge at the entrance of the villa.
“Yes, a new regime of COVID-19 regulation has been put in place for all visitors to the Villa, not for Governors alone,” Shehu said.
“Every visitor to the Villa, not just those seeing the president, is now required to do a rapid test at the gate.
The kits are freely issued so no one is required to make payment. This is purely temporary in view of the recent spike in cases, and will be removed any moment the situation abates. It’s a growing practice in government offices in many countries.
“Although some exceptions have been made for a few leaders in government coming from outside the Villa, they too are encouraged to do those tests.
“This policy has rightfully been justified following the discovery of COVID-19 positivity in some of those tested since the last few days of the practice.”
Shehu had announced last week that he tested positive for COVID and subsequently went into isolation.
Some aides of President Muhammadu Buhari were also said to have tested positive for the virus.
Also, Nigeria has reported a steady increase in COVID infections in what has been confirmed as the fourth wave of the pandemic by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
According to the agency, a total of 242,877 confirmed cases, 214,778 recoveries and 3,033 fatalities have been recorded in the country so far.