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Nigeria to begin repatriating nationals stranded abroad

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People wears face masks in compliance with state directive to curb the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus at Ojodu-Berger in Lagos, on May 4, 2020. – Kano, with around 12 million people, is the second-most populous state in Nigeria. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on May 1, 2020, said the number of recorded infections across Kano rose to 219, up from 77 at the start of the week.<br />Kano has in recent days seen a spate of high-profile deaths including academics, bureaucrats, businessmen and traditional leaders. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Nigeria on Wednesday was to start repatriating nationals stranded overseas by coronavirus travel restrictions, the foreign ministry said.

The first batch of 265 Nigerians is due to fly back to Lagos from Dubai aboard an Emirates flight, followed on Friday by 300 others from London, the ministry said.

An unspecified number of Nigerians is also expected to return from New York on Sunday.

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“The federal government has commenced the process of evacuating willing Nigerian nationals outside the country,” the foreign minister said in a statement late Tuesday.

“The evacuees on arrival in Nigeria will undergo a mandatory 14-day supervised quarantine in a monitored environment”.

The index case of the virus in Nigeria was an Italian businessman who came to Lagos in February.

Since then the disease has infected 2,950 and killed 98 people, according to official figures.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, closed its international airports in March and has only been allowing special flights to repatriate foreign citizens to their home countries.

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