COVID-19: We Didn’t Say Air Flights ‘ll Start On June 21 – PTF



The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic has denied fixing June 21, 2020, as resumption date for air travels in the country.

National Coordinator Dr Sani Aliyu, clarified: “What we said to the aviation authority is this; you need to let us know, from the 21st of June onwards, if you are ready to start opening the skies. We didn’t say 21st of June, skies open, we gave them a window of three weeks to prepare and I believe they are preparing.

“We didn’t ask them for regular updates in terms of how things are going, we expect them to come back to us. As you know, the Aviation Industry is highly regulated, there are certain things they have to do before they start flying, such as retraining of pilots, recalibrating the aircrafts and ensuring safety across the board, as well as measures we need to impose at the airports to make sure that people are safe.

“No, we don’t have an update for that. We expect them to come back to us by the 21st of June and if they come back to us and they say they are ready from the 21st of June onwards, we will open the skies for domestic travels and that’s when we will address the issue of inter-state restrictions and curfew, but for the moment, there’s no plan, right now, to say 21st of June, here we go”, he said.

Answering a question about whether the rising numbers of infections could force the country back to reintroducing a total lockdown of the country, Aliyu said the rise in number of infected persons was not strange as it was just an indication that more tests were being carried out.

He, however noted that the fact that the numbers had kept rising and had gone beyond the 13,000 mark indicated that the number of persons already infected was far higher, noting that the known number was just about 10% to 15% of those already tested and that there were more people out there yet to be tested, but had already been infected.

“The number of cases we have is a reflection of the number of tests we do. For those of you who look at the NCDC number very carefully, it you look at the positivity rate, it still remains about ten to fifteen per cent of the tests that we do that come out positive.

“If you do more tests, you are going to find more. When we say about 13,000 Nigerians are with COVID-19, that’s a minimum, it doesn’t mean that there are only 13,000 Nigerians with COVID-19, it means those are the ones that we have been able to diagnosed as positive.”





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