Nigeria will resume international flights in and out of the country starting Aug. 29, its aviation minister said on Monday, reported Reuters.
The government had shut down its airport in March to all but essential international flights as part of the country’s efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. It also imposed a four-week lockdown in three of its cities and closed down social and religious gatherings as a way to slow down the spread of the virus.
In a statement released on Monday, the Nigerian Ministry of Aviation said flights will resume August 29 from Lagos, the West African nation’s commercial hub, and Abuja, its capital city. The ministry confirmed that travel within other cities will follow at a later date.
At a briefing in Abuja, Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika said the resumption of international flights would begin with the megacity of Lagos and the capital Abuja. He did not say where they would be coming from.
Sirika said four flights would begin landing daily in Lagos and four in Abuja, with strict protocols. The minister said Nigeria resumed domestic flights on July 8, and there had been no confirmed coronavirus transmissions on flights.
“It is safe to fly, if we observe all those protocols in place,” Sirika said at a briefing in Abuja.
The aviation minister said passengers on international flights will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test result in order to board and pay for another test after they arrive in Nigeria. The passengers would be given an online health questionnaire to fill up and present it to the authorities on landing.
People who are currently returning to Nigeria aboard repatriation flights are made to self-quarantine themselves for 14 days, and authorities retain passports for that period.
Nigeria, which is Africa’s most populous country, has registered 49,068 confirmed coronavirus cases and 975 related deaths so far. Some 36,500 people have recovered so far.