Senate Aviation Committee Chairman Senator Smart Adeyemi said on Monday that the National Assembly and the Air Department are considering banning flights from the United Kingdom, the United States and other countries with high rates of COVID-19.
Adeyemi, who stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja, said that a decision on the matter would be announced next week.
The federal government’s plan may not be news to pressure it to stop the further spread of the coronavirus by banning flights from countries with high levels of the virus.
As a reminder, the President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Professor Innocent Uja, said in an interview with The PUNCH on Sunday that travelers from the UK and the United States are aggravating COVID-19 cases in Nigeria.
The President of the NMA said: “The government knows that they (travelers from the UK and the US) are responsible for the increase in the number of cases, and the results have shown this, and the government knows what to do.”
Although the presidential task force on COVID-19 on Thursday introduced new requirements for passengers from the UK and South Africa, flights from the two countries have not been banned.
The PTF only opened registers for travelers from two countries due to the deadly strains of coronavirus found there.
However, he said there were no new strains of the virus in Nigeria. But there are fears that travelers who received false results on COVID-19 could bring a new virus into the country.
According to worldometry.info, there were 19,589,952 cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of Monday 6:55 pm, of which 341,332 have died.
The UK has 2,329,730 COVID-19 cases, of which 71,109 have died. There were 396,048 cases in Sweden, of which 8,279 were reported.
As of Sunday, Nigeria has reported 84,414 cases of the virus and 1,254 people have died. But deaths from the virus have skyrocketed since the start of the second wave last month.
The Center for Disease Control of Nigeria said that after falling death rates from September to November this month, it rose to 74.
Adeyemi told PUNCH that the National Assembly and the federal government are worried about the second wave of COVID-19.
He says that in recent days, the joint aviation committees of the National Assembly, the aviation ministry and industry departments have met regularly on the matter.
He said that the meetings seriously discussed the possible consequences of the proposed ban and other related issues.
Adeyemi said, “We are still trying to study the situation to know what steps need to be taken. This is certainly a very sad situation.
“The National Assembly and the Air Department are considering what should actually be done in response to the call to ban some inbound flights not only from the UK, but from other countries where the spread of the pandemic is more serious.
“The Joint Committee of the National Aviation Assembly is in talks with the Ministry of Aviation and we are exploring what can be done and what measures should be taken.
“COVID-19 is of great interest to everyone and has proven to be a reality. Nigeria as a country was able to contain the situation because our people are well aware of the protocols.
“The fact that we are experiencing a second wave is worrying. Consequently, the ministry and the National Assembly are considering a complete ban on flights from countries at risk of a pandemic, such as the UK, USA, Asian countries, Sweden and others.
“We have studied the situation. We will make a conclusion in the coming days. We look at numbers, infection rates, infection routes, and government response.
“We are looking into the implications of a total ban on flights and are investigating whether there will be any value in containing the virus.
“We have protocols for visitors arriving in Nigeria and we make sure that they are strictly followed. However, in the coming days we will know what to do.
“The committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives on aviation, the Ministry of Aviation and all departments of the Ministry hold regular meetings on the situation.
“Over the next week, we will come to a final conclusion on a possible absolute ban on flights from the affected countries or on the next steps to be taken.”
FG will not do anything to affect the health of Nigerians – aviation ministry
When contacted by Aviation Ministry Director of Public Affairs, James Oduadu, he said that the eventual flight ban should be implemented jointly with neighboring countries.
He said: “If Nigeria intends to ban flights, it will be in alliance with our neighboring countries. I assure you that we are monitoring the situation very closely. The government will not do anything to affect the health of Nigerians.
“Two days ago, Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority sent a notice to airline operators that some passengers were arriving from the UK and South Africa. Other than that, I am not aware of any flight bans. At the moment, I’m not aware of any flight bans. The situation may change tomorrow, but now I don’t know. “
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Aviation consultant Mr Olumide Ounayo told PUNCH that he does not support flight bans if the rules set by the NCAA are still followed.
He said: “What the government has done is to increase surveillance and close surveillance of passengers. The protocols are always the same. In the UK and South Africa – 96 hours. You must also have a flight permit.
“Even if people demand a complete ban on flights. I’m not for a complete ban. To ensure airline compliance, an additional $ 3,500 fine was imposed on every passenger who violated the protocol. I think that these recommendations are valid at the moment and we need to strengthen oversight. “
Dana Air spokesman Kingsley Esenwa has asked the government to continue to enforce COVID-19 protocols.
He said, “Protocols are best. The flight ban could hurt the economy right now. For us, we still adhere to protocols 100%. From the airport entrance to the landing site and the plane, the protocols are still there. Travelers must use hand sanitizers while flying. ”
Source: -Punch ng