The Nigerian government has announced that international flights will resume on August 29. It also announced the procedures that would be followed for the resumption.
By Nike Adebowale
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, announced the new dates for resumption of flights at the bi-weekly Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing on Monday.
He said the flight operations would commence in and out of two airports; Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.
“I am pleased to announce that international flights will resume from the 29th of August, 2020. It will start with Lagos and Abuja. The protocols and procedures will be announced in due course, ” he said.
President Muhammad Buhari had in March ordered the suspension of international flights to curb the influx of imported cases of the COVID-19 virus in the country.
While local flights were also suspended, they resumed about a month ago as the country joined the rest of the world to battle the pandemic.
Globally, over 21 million people have been infected with the virus and 775,228 deaths recorded.
As of Sunday evening, over 49,000 cases of the virus have been confirmed in Nigeria and 975 deaths, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Mr Sirika said all passengers would have to undergo a COVID-19 test before boarding a flight into the country.
This, he said, will be followed by another test eight days after arrival in the country.
“Very close to your departure dates, you will take a COVID-19 test where you are coming from and then, of course, you would go online to fill the health questionnaire.
“There will also be a portal that we will open. Prior to your departure, you will pay through that platform for the test to be done here in Nigeria after your arrival.
“Meaning that, just before you depart, you take a test and when you are negative and not showing any signs of COVID-19, we will board you on the flight.
“When you arrive in Nigeria, you will go through the protocols and exit the airport, and then eight days after your arrival, which we consider the incubation period, you will take a test,” he said.
He did not explain how the authorities would ensure those who arrived would be tracked to ensure compliance
The minister also noted that “no one has contracted the virus while on board an aircraft.”
This he said is an indication that “aircraft are safe for boarding.”