Director General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu addressing the press at the presentation of 15,000 COVID-19 test kits to NCDC by UNICEF in Abuja on Tuesday, Sept 29, 2020. [Twitter-@NCDCgov]

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says the inability of some travellers to obtain QR codes and access their COVID-19 test results on Tuesday was due to system failure.

Passengers had expressed frustration over their inability to access the portal, costs of the test on arrival, and other challenges.

2face, award-winning singer, had called out the NCDC over the glitch in its COVID-19 portal which left him and some travellers stranded at an airport.

Commenting on the issue, Chikwe Ihekweazu, director-general of NCDC, on Thursday, said: “On April 20, a system failure by one of the partner organisations supporting the management of the COVID-19 travel portal led to an unforeseen downtime,” he said.

“We accept full responsibility for this event, which led to inconvenience for several travellers to Nigeria.

“We have learnt from this occurrence and continue to restructure our systems to avoid future events like this and serve Nigerians better.

“Our commitment remains to protect the health of Nigerians by reducing the risk of spread of the virus. This is why the Nigerian international travel portal was introduced by the presidential task force on COVID-19.”

Ihekweazu said the technical failure was resolved after about 12 hours.

He assured travellers that the agency would continue to strengthen this process to make it seamless.

The NCDC chief also said the federal government cannot regulate the cost of COVID-19 test in private laboratories.

Ihekweazu said the federal government had insisted on a PCR test for international passengers to prevent the overwhelming of the nation’s health infrastructure.

“As the country’s response to COVID-19, the public health laboratories will continue to provide testing free-of-charge for public health needs,” he said.

“Nigerians should note that testing is still free in public health laboratories, while testing for personal reasons such as travel purposes are required to be done in private laboratories, which is what travelers are paying for.”

“So please bear with us, it’s a small price to pay for the future and the health of the country and its people and we encourage you to keep carrying out departure test.

“All travelers arriving in Nigeria must have tested negative for COVID-19 by PCR in the country of departure pre-boarding.

“The PCR test must be done within 96 hours before departure and preferably within 72 hours.”

He added that passengers were required to remain in self-isolation on arrival and carry out a COVID-19 test in a designated private laboratory seven days after arrival.

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