… Orders Emirates airline to suspend flights operations in Nigeria from March 17, 2021
By Williams Anuku Abuja
Just when some countries of the world are still grappling with the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the Nigerian government has raised an alarm, that the third wave of the virus has been reported in other countries.
The alarm comes few weeks after the Federal Government took delivery of almost four million doses of the Astra-Zeneca vaccines from international partners.
So far, the President, Muhammadu Buhari, his Vice, Yemi Osinbajo and other top government functionaries, including some health workers have been vaccinated, with deployment ongoing to some of the federating states.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Covid 19, Boss Mustapha gave the information on Monday in Abuja, during the weekly briefing session, regarding control measures in the country.
He said, The arrival of vaccines has not in anyway distracted us from pursuing the National Response to COVID-19 as originally conceptualized – test, detect, trace, isolate and treat.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the virus is very potent and people still get infected. It is also a fact that the vaccination process has only just began. It has been reported that some countries are recording a third wave of cases.
“We urge all Nigerians to recognize that we are not yet out of the woods. Therefore, the PTF shall continue to put emphasis and promote the strict adherence to the NPIs”.
Boss debunked speculations regarding the safety of the Astra-Zeneca vaccines, saying health officials in Nigeria have found it to be effective and efficacious.
“Over the last few days, reports from all over the world have focused on the safety and side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine that is currently being rolled out in Nigeria. The Nigerian authorities have tested and authorized the use of the vaccines because it is safe and efficacious.
” I however wish to reassure you that the Government of Nigeria shall always prioritize the health of Nigerians”.
While giving more explanations on the control measures, he said as at 14th of March, 2021, our bed occupancy has reduced to 1.22% and active cases stands 13,245.
According to him, Nigeria crossed 2,000 fatalities on 12th March, 2021 and now have 2,013 recorded deaths.
He said the PTF will like to caution Nigerians on Home-Based Care as there may not be enough facilities and personnel to manage patients in times of emergencies. It is in this vain that concerted efforts have been made to ensure that oxygen is available for patients in all the 46 facilities.
“Eight days ago, members of the PTF received their first jabs of the ASTRAZENECA vaccines. Since then, the Federal Ministry of Health and its Agencies have proceeded to roll out vaccines to the States, “he stressed.
On international travels, he said discussions with the KLM and Emirates are still on-going on the issue of pre-boarding testing for passengers whose final destination of travel are in their home bases.
He disclosed that KLM will resume outbound flights from Lagos from today, 15th March, 2021 without RDTs while a letter has been written to Emirates Airlines to suspend flights with effect from midnight Wednesday, 17th March, 2021.
“You will recall that at the beginning of the ban on international and domestic travels, airports in Nigeria were locked down. The major concern for the ban on international flights was to prevent importation of the virus.
“The ban has since been lifted after necessary infrastructure and personnel and systems were put in place in Lagos and Abuja airports. In order to further energise the economies of states in the North West, South-South and South East, a timetable has been prepared for the reopening of Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu international airports, “Boss stated.