Nigeria is gearing up to resume international flights in and out of the country after shutting down its airport in March to curb the spread of Covid-19.
According to a statement released Monday by the Ministry of Aviation, flights will resume August 29 from Lagos, the west African nation’s commercial hub, and Abuja, its capital city. Travel within other cities will follow at a later date, the ministry said.
Nigeria currently has more than 49,000 confirmed cases of the virus as of Monday, according to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control.
The country’s minister for aviation, Hadi Sirika, announced during a televised briefing on Monday that Nigeria’s international airports have reached advanced stages of preparedness to resume operations.
He did not disclose details of the methods put in place to ensure the safety of travelers, stating that procedures will be announced at a later time.
Nigeria closed its domestic and international airports March 23, leaving room for only evacuation flights for Nigerian citizens stranded in countries like the United States.
It also imposed a four-week lockdown in three of its cities and closed down social and religious gatherings as a way to slow down the spread of the virus.
However, the government lifted restrictions on social gatherings and religious institutions in June amid increasing Covid-19 numbers, citing the temperature checks in public spaces and mandated use of face masks.
In July, it also opened up its domestic airports for flights within the country while enforcing safety protocols such as the use of masks, hand sanitizers and social distancing during travel.
Nigeria is not the first African country to open its doors to external travel. Other countries like Senegal and Tanzania have opened their airports for travel as well.