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Nigeria to ban Emirates operations from Wednesday

The Federal Government of Nigeria has temporarily banned Emirates airline from operating in the country over its continued refusal to fly passengers out of the country without a pre-boarding rapid diagnostic test (RTD’s).

Speaking during it’s weekly briefing on Monday, the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF), Boss Mustapha, said the ban will take effect from midnight on Wednesday, March 17.

“KLM will resume outbound flights from Lagos on March 15, 2021, without RDTs while a letter has been written to Emirates airlines to suspend flights with effect from midnight Wednesday, March 17, 2021,” he said.

Mustapha, however, said discussions are ongoing to resolve the matter amicably.

Emirate and KLM had in the past few weeks flown passengers into Nigeria but refused to fly passengers out because of its new guidelines introduced as part of measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“Regarding KLM and Emirate airlines, at the time that we resumed flight, these two airlines made demands that there would be polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for passengers within 72 hours of their flight and there will also be antigens rapid test at the airport and also a PCR test on arrival in their countries,” Hadi Sirika, the minister of aviation said at the briefing.

Sirika argued that this is devoid of any scientific basis because the virus itself will incubate at least within or after 72 hours.

In this light, it sounds incorrect for passengers to take a PCR test within 72 hours and take a rapid test before flight and seven hours later, take another test, “you are likely to show negative and the reasons at the time was that the PCR results are being faked,” the minister said.

The minister said KLM has accepted to bring passengers in and out on the conditions agreed upon which is to have a PCR test within 72 hours.

“Emirate didn’t accept the position and so, we have asked that Emirate be banned from operations from midnight Wednesday,” he said.

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