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FG releases further guidelines pre-airport reopening

Senator Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, on Saturday urged intending air passengers to strictly observe the “new normal” laws being introduced in all the airports in the country.

Sirika made the appeal at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja during departure simulation processes.

According to him, strictly adhering to the new laws will prevent spread of COVID-19 from person to person at the airports.

He said: “Every activity we are undertaking here is to ensure that people observe physical distancing, wear face masks or shade, wash hands with soap and water, apply hand sanitiser and maintain environment.

“Government will ensure passengers participate in disinfecting the area for the sake of hygiene.”

The minister said passengers would be enlightened to adopt the “new normal” laws on time.

Sirika said: “It is advisable that we will announce when we are going to open the protocols; you need to be at the airport for local flight at least three hours before the flight.

“We have demonstrated here in a mock manner; we have demonstrated here a sick person, the health workers attending to him.

“God forbid, but if someone falls sick, we are very ready to attend to him.

“All of these is just to keep safe and this is the new normal.”

According to Sirika, under the new normal, passengers served tea or beverages will need to pick the tea that will be in a disposable material by themselves to avoid contaminating others.

“The essence is to ensure smooth operation of our airports and this is to demonstrate that everything is alright and we are ready to start,” the Minister added.

On seating arrangement, he said the new idea was to make cabin economically alright and avoid infection.

According to Sirika, the government will ensure the new laws are implemented in such a way that flights are comfortable according to World Health Organisation and International Civil Aviation Organisation standards.

“WHO and ICAO developed the sitting protocols; we will ensure that those protocols are observed and implemented safely for aviation to remain an economically viable venture,” the minister said.

NAN reports that Aero B737 aircraft, with Registration Number NG110, which departed by 11:25am, carried 51 passengers of the Presidential Task Force team from Abuja to Lagos.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria started the simulation exercise at 8am during which there were 1.5m physical distance markings, two hand wash areas and bags disinfecting area.

Hand sanitisers were placed at strategic locations and Port Health workers were seen taking the temperature levels of intending passengers.

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