Sept 5 Int’l fight resumption: FG bars Air France, Etihad Airways, others from Nigeria

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…Approves reopening of NYSC camps,

As the Nigeria opens its skies for international flight operations,it has listed some countries which it said it has no open sky arrangements from flying into the country until situation improves.
This countries are United Arab Emirates,Ethihad Europe’s Air France and others.
They were barred from flying into both the Murtala Muhammed airport and Nnamdi Azikwe airports when international flight commences from September 5, 2020.

Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika speaking on Thursday during a briefing of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, listed airlines not approved to fly into these airports include Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, Etihad Airways, Angolan TAG, Air Namibia and Royal Air Maroc.

He also listed British Airways, Emirates, Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airlines, African World Airlines (AWA), and Middle East Airlines and Turkish Airlines as airlines allowed to fly into Abuja airport.

According to the Minister, Air Peace also received approval for international operation as it originates from Nigeria, flying the nation’s flag.

He however reeled out another list of airlines approved to fly into these airports including BA, Virgin Atlantic Airlines (VAA) Delta, Emirates, Qatar, AWA, Kenya Airways and Middle East airline, Air Cote d’ivoire and Air Senegal as airlines permitted to operate into the Lagos airport.

Sirika said, “Abuja and Lagos will be open for operations on the 5th of September. We are satisfied with the preparations so far, we don’t anticipate any hitches before we go over the procedures on what has changed I would quickly go over the airlines and the timetable.

“Saturday for Lagos there will be BA, Delta, Emirates, Qatar, AWA, Kenya Airways and Middle East airlines while for Abuja we have BA, Egypt Air, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, AWA, Middle East Airlines and Turkish. And then we will release to you the time table for the remaining days to say time.

“We used two items the Foreign Carrier Aircraft Permit (FCOP) which is required by our laws for foreign airlines operating into Nigeria and of course the guidelines by COVID-19 Task force

“Now, at this point, it is important that we announce the airlines that are allowed for operations into the country. The ones not approved is Air France. Middle East Airlines is approved for only Lagos (airport). British Airways (is) approved – allowed entry under COVID-19 protocol.

“The reason for Air France is that tourists business holders are not allowed entry. KLM not approved for the same reason as Air France. Delta Airlines, no restrictions – USA, we have an Open Skies with them and they also allow us in.

“Qatar Airways are allowed and approved under COVID-19 protocol. Etihad, not approved. Ethiopian Airlines allowed entry under COVID-19 protocol. Egyptair approved, allowed entry under COVID-19 protocol.

“Rwandair not approved. Air Peace, not applicable, they are our own carrier in Nigeria, we thank them. Virgin Atlantic, approved, allowed entry under COVID-19 protocol. Air Namibia, not approved. Asky, approved. Royal Air Maroc, not approved. African World Airways, Ghana, approved.

However, the Federal Government said state governments and school administrators should start making preparations for the full reopening of schools in the country.

Our correspondent had reported that schools in the country had been shut since March as part of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease.

The FG announced the resumption of graduating pupils effective August 4, 2020, to write this year’s West African Senior School Certificate Examination from August 17, 2020, through September 12, 2020.

Some state governments like Lagos and Kogi had subsequently announced the full reopening of schools to commence mid-September.

But speaking on Thursday, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, during a briefing at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, said the task force recommended phased return of students to classrooms.

Aliyu said, “For educational institutions which include daycare, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. Educational institutions should begin the process of working towards potentially reopening within this phase.

“However, we strongly recommend that states conduct risk assessment to ensure all schools are at a level of compliance and create a monitoring mechanism to assess, create, and monitor this level of preparedness.

“Meanwhile, all daycares and educational institutions are to remain closed to in-classes until this level of risk is assessed. And if there will be opening of schools, it must be staged and preferably carried out in phases to ensure that this does not pose a risk to the general public and in particular to vulnerable groups that might end up getting infected by students going back home.”

In another development, the FG has given the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) the green light to start making plans to reopen its orientation camps nationwide.

The NYSC orientation camps across the country were shut in March as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Aliyu said the task force was in the process of developing “strict guidelines” to forestall the outbreak of infections when NYSC camps reopened.

“The NYSC is to consolidate on safety measures currently being put in place and start preparing for the reopening of orientation camps when educational institutions open.

“We are in the process of developing strict guidelines to ensure there is no outbreak of COVID-19 when this process starts,” he said.

Also, on the nationwide curfew which starts from 10pm till 4am but has been modified to 12 midnight till 4am Dr. Aliyu said, “I will first of all start with general movement. We are modifying the curfew to commence from 12 midnight to 4 am nationwide, effective from 12:00 tonight,” Aliyu said.

“This does not apply to people on essential services and international travellers that might be returning from abroad.

“In terms of other aspects of general movement, no formal restriction will be applied within the country but the risk remains there. For citizens in particular vulnerability groups, the elderly, those with underlying medical illnesses are strongly advised to continue keeping away from mass gatherings and general public and staying at home.

“We will be engaging closely with state governments with regards to the issue of compliance, particularly with face masks because we remain quite concerned about the low level of compliance with this simple intervention measure that we know is quite effective.”

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