JOHANNESBURG - Over 27,000 passengers have arrived in Nigeria since the resumption of international flights on September 5, after being grounded for months due to Covid-19, Lagos-based online newspaper Ripples Nigeria reported on Monday.
The publication said the national coordinator of the West African country’s presidential task force on Covid-19, Sani Aliyu, disclosed this during a town hall meeting organised by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission in the capital Abuja.
Aliyu said 18,000 passengers came in through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos and 9,000 through the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja.
The task force had come up with stringent health procedures in order to avoid the importation of Covid-19 to Nigeria, prevent transmission during flights and reduce the quarantine period upon arrival, he said.
Aliyu also said public laboratories were not allowed to conduct coronavirus tests, as the government could not afford it.
“We will run out of test kits,” he said, adding that the government was trying to push down the cost of Polymerase Chain Reaction -- a method widely used to rapidly make millions to billions of copies of a specific DNA sample -- for private laboratories who would in turn work within the travel sector line.
Aliyu emphasised the requirement for passengers to be tested before boarding planes, with the Nigerian government requiring a negative Covid-19 test within 120 hours (five days) before departure.
In its latest update, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said the West African country had to date recorded 59,345 confirmed cases of Covid-19, out of which 50,768 people had recovered while 1,113 had lost their lives.