Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika stated on Thursday, June 18, that the resumption of domestic flights which was scheduled to occur on Sunday, June 21, will be postponed until further notice. Sirika stated that the postponement would allow the aviation sector time to conform to new public health and safety standards. Flights were initially planned to operate from Abuja Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (ABV), Lagos Murtala Mohammed International Airport (LOS), Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (KAN), Port Harcourt International Airport (PHC), and Owerri Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport (QOW), with other airports permitted to operate following further review. Sirika stated that a new date for the resumption of domestic flights would be announced in the coming week.
Other coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions remain in force in Nigeria. The use of face masks in public places and social distancing rules remain mandatory, while businesses such as bars, gyms, clubs, and spas are still closed. A nationwide curfew is in place between 22:00 and 04:00 (local time) and a ban on gatherings of more than 20 people remains active.
As of Friday, June 19, all airports remain closed to international flights until further notice. Interstate travel also remains prohibited.
As of June 19, health authorities have confirmed 18,480 COVID-19 cases and 475 associated deaths in Nigeria. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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