COVID-19: US Tells Citizens in Nigeria to Prepare For Evacuation

By Amara Christa

The United States government says it is preparing emergency flights to evacuate its citizens from Nigeria despite airport closures in the African country.

The Federal Government through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority had closed all international airports in the country including the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja to prevent further importation of COVID-19.

However, a notice on friday by the US Embassy and Consulate in Nigeria entitled ‘Health Alert: US Mission in Nigeria’ advised American citizens to be in Abuja and Lagos “as soon as possible” to join the arranged flights back to the US.

It stated, “At present, there are no scheduled flights to the United States.  However, we are actively exploring options and attempting to secure flights despite global airport closures and travel restrictions.

“We will email US citizens immediately once we have flight details, routes, and costs.

“US citizens who are considering returning to the United States are urged to travel to Abuja or Lagos as soon as possible.

“The Embassy and Consulate are unable to assist with lodging, food, or transportation costs, and some hotels have closed or are closing.

“To disseminate important information and alerts for US Citizens including possible evacuation flights, the State Department uses the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program as its primary messaging system. US Citizens in Nigeria who want to be informed about emergency flights and receive other alerts should enroll in STEP immediately.”

As of Saturday morning, according to World Health Organisation statistics, the US has 68,334 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 991 attendant deaths.

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