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Minister meets Buhari over airports closure deadline

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• FG Adds Austria, Sweden To High-Risk List, Limits Arrivals To Abuja, Lagos 
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, yesterday briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on the measures taken by his ministry to enforce the March 21, 2020 stoppage of flights by citizens from high risk countries entering Nigeria.

The measures, according to the authorities, are to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Speaking to State House correspondents after their meeting, Sirika said deadline of banning flights and citizens of high-risk countries from coming into Nigeria would start immediately.

“This is in effect beginning from Saturday, March 21 by 23.59p.m. These airports will be closed and people coming from these 15 countries will not enter,” he said.

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On the aircraft that brought President Buhari’s daughter from the United Kingdom, he said that the Presidential Task Force was tackling the flights that came into the country from the high-risk countries.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has added Austria and Sweden to its list of as high-risk countries with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. 

This was as the index case recorded his first negative test yesterday and would be discharged if his next test comes out negative, in line with the case management protocol. 

Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who stated this yesterday in Abuja, added that for better control of new arrivals, international travel to Nigeria had been temporarily limited to only Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. 

He noted that other airports would be closed to international traffic to create more focus on all the passengers coming into the country, while the remaining international airports would be limited to domestic flights.

These decisions will be reviewed as the situation demands, just as the Port Health services will be strengthened in all these airports, he asserted. 

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