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Nigeria resumes domestic flights as part of easing restrictions

Domestic flights are back in Nigeria following a three-month suspension because of Covid-19. No date has yet been set for the return of international flights.

A passenger wearing a face mask pushes a trolley outside the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, on its re-opening day for domestic flight operations, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Abuja, Nigeria July 8, 2020. REUTERS/Afolabi

As part of Nigeria's plan for easing restrictive measures that were taken to curb the spread of Covid-19, the country saw the resumption of domestic flights on Wednesday after around three months of suspension, while no date has been set yet for the international flights' return.

The airport of the capital Abuja, along with Lagos airport, were reopened, with numerous airports set to restart on 11 July, while the remaining airports will get back to work starting 15 July.

Reopening airports is considered one of the most important measures taken by the government to improve the state's economy that has been badly hit by the pandemic. The hope is that domestic air travel will help bring life somewhat back to normal. Governmental authorities have already lifted the ban on interstate travel earlier, sent some students back to their schools, and allowed places of worship to reopen.

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New safety measures:

Airports took some significant precautionary measures compatible with safety and health protocols such as installing hand-washing facilities and providing floor marks to urge people to maintain social distancing. In addition, airport workers are now responsible for checking passengers' temperature and disinfecting their luggage.

The spokeswoman for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Henrietta Yakubu stated on Tuesday "We are not out to punish anybody. We are interested in their well-being that is why we have put all of these things in place, and so we expect them to please abide by all of these procedures."

No date for international flights resumption:

Nigeria hasn't set a date for the resumption of international flights yet, as health officials are concerned that the situation can worsen if the country with the highest population in Africa resumes international flights.

Nigeria has, so far, reported nearly 30,000 confirmed cases and 669 deaths since the pandemic started.


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