• Sunday, May 19, 2024
businessday logo


 Coronavirus: FG restricts international flights to Lagos, Abuja

Osagie Ehanire

The Federal Government has restricted international flights to Murtala Muhammad International Airport Lagos and Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, as part of measures to curb the spread of the Coronavirus. All other Airports will be closed to international travel.

Osagie Ehanire, Nigeria’s minister of health, who said this at a press conference in Abuja on Friday, explained that the country is experiencing an influx of coronavirus from international travellers which informed the move.

Ehanire said all other Airports, which are Port Harcourt and Kano will only run domestic flights. He said travellers from foreign countries will be required to self-isolate even if they feel well.

The minister further informed that two countries had been added to the list of high-risk countries –  Austria and Sweden. Others are China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, Norway, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, and Switzerland.

Ehanire said that as of March 20th 2020, Nigeria had 12 cases of Coronavirus  – 9 in Lagos, 2 in Ogun and one in Ekiti states. He said the index case, the Italian man, would be discharged if he tests Negative to the virus again.

Ehanire also said the government has intensified efforts to trace 1,300 contacts and sought the support of every Nigerian to successfully trace all contacts which he described as an “arduous task”.

The minister, however, said the government had scaled up response efforts to contain the virus. He insisted on self-isolation as an effective strategy to curb the spread.

On whether Nigeria will employ mandatory quarantine for international travellers, Ehanire said Nigeria will only adopt response measures than are in line with the situation in the country.

He assured that there are adequate isolation centres to receive patients should there be further spread across the country, while noting that no country was prepared for the virus.

On the use of chloroquine, the minister said it had not been proven to be active against Coronavirus. He said Nigeria would not adhere to the recommendations of Donald Trump, US president, but will rather follow WHO guidelines.