Nigeria bans all international flights, as coronavirus cases hit 22

Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt airports not affected by strike 


Nigeria has banned all international flights coming into the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, as it recorded 10 new cases of coronavirus (Covid-19), including three in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, bringing the total in the country to 22.

The Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Musa Nuhu, who disclosed the ban in a statement on Saturday, said, “Further to our earlier letter on restriction of international flights into Nigeria, we wish to inform you that effective Monday 23 March at 2300Z to 23 April at 2300z, Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos (DNMM) and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja (DNAA) will be closed to international flights.

“This is in addition to the closure of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano (DNKN); Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu (DNEN); and Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa (DNPO) effective Saturday, 21 March at 2300Z.

“Henceforth, all airports in Nigeria are closed to all incoming international flights with the exception of emergency and essential flights.”

NCAA, however, said domestic flights would continue operations at all airports across the nation.

On the new coronavirus cases, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said on Saturday that in addition to the FCT, the new cases were recorded in Lagos, Ekiti, and Ogun.

The three cases in Abuja — two males and one female — all returned from abroad between March 14 and 18. While one has been in self-isolation, the other two have not.

The Minister also said the 10 new cases are Nigerians, and that nine of them have travel history to Canada, France, The Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom and returned in the past one week, while the tenth case is a close contact of a previously confirmed case.

He said two of the patients have been discharged, and that “all cases are clinically stable and receiving adequate care”.

One of the recent cases confirmed in Lagos was that of local transmission. The patient in his 50s did not travel out of the country, but had contact with one of the patients that returned from abroad.