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Nigeria approves gradual reopening of international, train services

Nigeria’s Presidential Task Force (PTF), on COVID-19 has approved gradual reopening of  international flights and train services across the country.

Mr Boss Mustapha, the Chairman of PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) said that this was part of the decisions reached at the end of the second extension of the second phase of eased  lockdown.

Mustapha told journalists on Thursday in Abuja that “it’s important to ensure that restrictions are not completely relaxed in order to control transmission. It is also important that at this Community Transmission Phase of the pandemic sub-national governments step up to take more responsibilities by owning the response.

“To sustain gains already made, therefore, the PTF recommended to the President the retention of the current phase of the response with minor changes to address economic, socio-political and health concerns. It is, however, important to inform you that the major changes being proposed are aimed at achieving the following:

“Gradual re-opening of international air flights within established parameters; Re-opening of rail transportation within established parameters.”

Mustapha also said that permission has been granted to exit classes to resume ahead of examinations and allowing civil servants from Grade Level 12 to resume work, and also the opening of recreational parks for supervised exercises.

Coordinator of PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, said the decision of the Presidential body has been communicated to the Ministry of Aviation for them to begin processes for reopening of international flights.

Dr Aliyu also noted that one of the new requirements would be to ensure that international passengers arrived three hours before departure to ensure proper checks before takeoff.

He further stated that if all requirements from the aviation sector were made the resumption of international flights would be a matter of weeks and not months.

Minister of Aviation,  Senator Hadi Sirika, announced that with the new approval, the aviation sector was ready to open any moment. 

Sirika also explained that international flights would open as soon as it was safe to operate.

He added that all efforts were being put in place to ensure the reopening in weeks and not in months.

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