WHO issues warning as domestic flights resume in Nigeria, African countries

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned African countries to continue to mitigate the risk of a surge in coronavirus infections as they begin to reopen airports.

The Nigerian air space will be open to local flights from July 8.

Admitting that resumption of land and air transport operations were vital for the free flow of goods and people, the WHO noted that lockdowns along with public health measures reduced the spread of coronavirus.

On Thursday, Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director for Africa, said: “Air travel is vital to the economic health of countries. But as we take to the skies again, we cannot let our guard down. Our new normal still requires stringent measures to stem the spread of COVID-19.


“The resumption of commercial flights in Africa will facilitate the delivery of crucial supplies such as testing kits, personal protective equipment and other essential health commodities to areas which need them most.”

WHO advised countries to assess the epidemiological situation to determine whether maintaining restrictions outweighs the economic costs of reopening borders.

The agency said it was also crucial to determine whether the health system can cope with a spike in imported cases and whether the surveillance and contact tracing system can reliably detect and monitor cases.

The United Nations body recommended that countries have systems in place at points of entry at airports.

WHO reiterated that the observance of preventive measures such as personal hygiene, cough etiquette, physical distancing, others remained crucial, adding that passengers should be registered and followed up if they develop symptoms.

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