Nigeria has resumed international flights just as it reiterated the ban it slammed on Air France, KLM airline, and five other airlines from flying into the country.
The reopening of International airspace on September 5 came five months after shutdown by the authorities due to COVID-19 Pandemic.
Other airlines banned by the apex government when the international airspace resume were: Lufthansa airline, Etihad airline, Rwanda Air, Air Namibia, and Air Maroc.
The decision came less than 48 hours to the reopening of Nigeria’s international airspace which was closed about five months ago after spread of COVID-19 became prevalent globally.
Announcing the apex government decision on Thursday at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) COVID-19 press briefing held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said that the move would afford the government opportunity to curtail the virus spread.
Sirika, who listed some of the airlines approved for entry beginning from September 5th to include British Airways, noted that the approval does not indicate that airlines were at liberty to act at variance with the government COVID-19 protocols.
On the protocols, the Minister disclosed that foreigners must have obtained their coronavirus test less than four days before arrival to the country and that any contravention of this section of the guideline, the passenger would be denied entry.
He added that the airline operator would also be mandated to pay a fine of $3,500 and that it would bear the cost of airlifting the passenger out of Nigeria.
Sirika, meanwhile, announced that for Nigerians that contravene this section, the passenger would be quarantined for 14 days and that the passenger would bear the cost of food and other services while under isolation.
He said: “Any airline that allows passengers with less than four days coronavirus certificate to board their flight will be sanctioned accordingly. The passenger would be refused entry into the country and the airline will bear the cost of airlifting the passenger back to their country”.
Lebanon’s Existence Under Threat — Pope Francis
Pope Francis has warned that Lebanon faced “extreme danger that threatens the very existence of the country” following last month’s massive explosion.
The leader of the Catholic Church focused on the disaster-hit country almost a month after the huge blast in the Beirut harbour ripped through the city, killing more than 180 people and wounding at least 6,500.
“Lebanon cannot be abandoned to its solitude,” the pope said at his first limited audience with the public in six months because of the coronavirus crisis.
“A month after the tragedy… my thoughts are still with dear Lebanon and its particularly hard-pressed population,” Francis said, holding a Lebanese flag brought to the audience by a young priest.
“Faced with the repeated tragedies that each of the inhabitants of this land knows, we realise the extreme danger that threatens the very existence of this country,” he said.
The pontiff held his first audience in a closed courtyard of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, with a maximum of 500 faithful.
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Jorge Bergoglio – the birth name of Francis – last hosted an audience on February 26, as the grip of Covid-19 closed around Italy.
Then the Argentinian pope, who is fond of direct contact, shook hands with dozens of faithful and hugged a few children massed in the front row of the audience of some 12,000 people.
But there were no hugs on Wednesday, with Francis simply exchanging a few words with those present, all wearing face masks.
So far, the coronavirus has killed more than 35,000 people in Italy since it was first detected, according to the latest official statistics.