Restrictions on local flights to be lifted June 21
The federal government has finally lifted the ban on religious gatherings across the country.
The government had imposed the ban two months ago to check the spread of coronavirus.
Chairman of the presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, on Monday announced that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the relaxation of the ban for four weeks.
“The PTF submitted its recommendations and the PRESIDENT has approved the following for implementation over the next four weeks spanning 2nd – 29th June, 2020, subject to review-:
“Cautious advance into the Second Phase of the national response to COVID-19; application of science and data to guide the targeting of areas of on-going high transmission of COVID-19 in the country;
“Mobilisation of all resources at State and Local Government levels to create public awareness on COVID 19 and improve compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions within communities; sustenance of key non-pharmaceutical interventions that would apply nationwide and include: ban of gatherings of more than 20 people outside of a workplace;
“Relaxation of restriction on places of Worship based on guidelines issued by the PTF and protocols agreed by state governments.”
Mustapha, who is also the Secretary of the Federal Government also announced that from June 2, banks would operate within the normal working hours.
He appealed to Nigerians to abide by the safety protocols of health authorities, adding that Nigeria is still far from the end of the pandemic.
The government also said that the restrictions placed on domestic flights might be lifted on June 21.
Speaking on Monday at the daily briefing of the presidential task force for COVID-19, Hadi Sirika, the minister of aviation, said industry stakeholders should start developing protocols towards flight resumption.
“The aircrafts have been parked for three months, we have to ensure that within now and that time, these aeroplanes are good and safe to fly, The maintenance for aircrafts is either usage or calendar time,” he said.
Sirika also explained that pilots and other members of the cabin crew would be required to undergo medicals and license renewed ahead of resumption.
Sani Aliyu, the national coordinator of the presidential taskforce on COVID-19 said: “When we say from June 21, we mean that we are preparing the aviation sector towards that date. That date may not necessarily be June 21, it could be June 26, 28 or even July 1”.
“It depends on whether or not they are prepared. So we are giving them a time frame of three weeks to start preparing for domestic flights.
“Once we open up the skies to domestic flights then we would have to review the arrangements regarding interstate travel because you cannot have a ban on interstate travel and you have people flying from one state to another.
“We are giving an opportunity for the aviation sector that is heavily regulated to make sure that they start getting their acts together so that airports open up in a safe way.”
Passengers would be required to wear masks or face shields, maintain physical distancing.
He said airports would also have to mark areas to reflect the new way of life while also ensuring clean surfaces.
On the resumption of international flights, Sirika said the federal government would be receiving standards from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) before the end of the day to help reach a decision