The Federal Government of Nigeria recently announced a shift in the resumption of international flights to September 5.
According to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the federal government postponed the resumption date, earlier fixed for Saturday, because of its inability to put in place non-aviation logistics for flights resumption.
The government has also said it has deployed a Gene Expert machine at the National Hospital Abuja and University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada (UATH) to reduce the turnaround time for COVID-19 diagnosis to one hour.
It has also unveiled two transparency dashboards to enhance accountability in national COVID-19 response.
Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, had said international airports in the country would reopen effective August 29 to resume international flight operations.
But at a press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 yesterday in Abuja, NCAA Director General, Capt. Musa Nuhu, said there were non-aeronautical logistics that needed to be put in place before the country’s airspace could be reopened to international flights.
He said: “Since the announcement by the honourable minister of aviation a few weeks ago that international flights will resume anytime from 29th of August, the aviation sector has worked assiduously to be ready for this date.
“The aviation sector, including the airports, is ready to resume on the 29th. However, we have other non-aviation logistics we are still working on mostly to do with the COVID-19 protocols, tests and online platforms. We need to get this in place so that we will have a smooth and efficient resumption of international flights without difficulties for all the passengers.
“So, for this reason, unfortunately, I have to let you know that the resumption date has been shifted by one week to the 5th of September, which is now a sacrosanct date. “The initial announcement was anytime from August 29. Now we have fixed a date – 5th of September- ensure that resumption of international flights.
“In due course, once these logistics are done, we will be announcing the protocols for the resumption and also we will be giving further details on the principle of reciprocity we have mentioned. So, hopefully, early next week, we will release this.”
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, also said the federal government had deployed a Gene Expert machine in the National Hospital Abuja and University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, to shorten the turnaround time for COVID-19 diagnosis.
He said with the new development, cases of suspected COVID-19 emergencies could now be diagnosed on-site, thereby “reducing the turnaround and waiting time to one hour.”
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