From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

The Presidency has said henceforth, Governors, VIPs and other visitors to the Presidential Villa in Abuja will now be required to take a rapid COVID-19 test before they would be allowed into the seat of power, either to visit the President or any other official.

Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, confirmed the development to State House Correspondents in Abuja.

Rapid antigen tests are designed to tell in a few minutes whether someone is infectious or not. COVID-19 rapid antigen testing is recommended as a high performing test for individuals with symptoms, high-risk populations, and healthcare or casual workers.

According to Shehu, the new regulation for gaining access into the Villa became necessary as a result of the global spike in the rate of the virus’ infection, especially the Omicron variant, as well as the recent development in the Villa, which saw some officials and aides of the President testing positive for COVID-19.

Recall that a number of close aides of President Muhammadu Buhari, Shehu, had tested positive to the virus and had gone on self-isolation for treatment.

However, the new regulation, according to the Presidential Media Aide, will require every visitor to compulsorily take the test free of charge at the entrance gates of the Villa

He, however, noted that some exceptions had been made for a few leaders coming from outside, though such persons are still encouraged to still take the test for safety reasons.

“Yes, a new regime of COVID-19 regulation has been put in place for all visitors to the Villa, not for Governors alone.

“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 positivity in some of those tested since the last few days of the practice”, Shehu explained.

Daily Sun also gathered that those with accreditation tags also henceforth expected to show their vaccination cards before gaining entrance into the villa.

Nigeria has reported a steady increase in COVID-19 infections, in what has been confirmed as the fourth wave of the pandemic by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

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Source: news