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22 Mar 2020 | 09:37 AM UTC

Nigeria: Government suspends international flights as of March 23 /update 3

Nigerian authorities suspend international flights as of March 23 amid COVID-19 pandemic; confirm flight itineraries

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NGA

Event

Nigeria announced that it will temporarily suspend international passenger flights into Lagos' Murtala Muhammed International Airport (LOS) and Abuja's Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (ABV) from Monday, March 23, through Thursday, April 23, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Exceptions will be made for emergency and essential flights. Authorities had previously halted international flights into Enugu, Kano, and Port Harcourt. Domestic flight operations will continue normally at all airports in the country.

To date, there are over 20 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.

Context

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.

Advice

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 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 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.