Nigeria: Coronavirus - Why We're Delaying Implementation of Flight Ban - Lai Mohammed

Hand washing is crucial in the fight against COVID-19.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday, said the delay in the implementation of flight restrictions is to enable airlines put safety measures in place.

According to him, 24 hours notice to all airlines is necessary to ensure they know when to position their flights, for safety and security reasons.

"There is what is called NOTAM - Notice To All Airmen. If you want to issue a kind of restrictions like this you give notice more than 24 hours to all airmen so that they will know when to position their flights and for safety and security reasons.

"For instance if an aircraft has taken off now you cannot ask it to go back mid air," Mr Mohammed said at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) Meeting.

The meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Flight restrictions

The federal government on Wednesday announced the restrictions of entry into the country for travellers from 13 high-risk Covid-19 countries.

The countries are China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, United States of America, Norway, United Kingdom, Netherlands & Switzerland.

However, the flight restrictions are only to commence on Saturday, March 21.

Each of the countries has over 1,000 cases of the disease, according to the Presidential Task Force on COVID19 which released a statement Wednesday morning.

The 12-member committee is chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.

The travel restriction is believed to have been made after the government confirmed five new cases of the disease, all in travellers from the UK and the U.S.

This brings to eight the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, although one of the earlier three has fully recovered.

Restrictions on religious gathering

Mr. Mohammed said the presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 will make necessary announcements regarding social distancing at the right time.

"As it is necessary announcement will be made regarding social distancing, personal hygiene as at when due.

"But the message is that Nigerians should take ownership of this pandemic and we should self-regulate.

"A lot of decisions have been taken by other countries which shows that when there is national interest and the safety of people, all other matters pale to insignificance. But we will let you know when such decision will be taken," he said.

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