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UAE aviation authority responds to Nigerian minister over passenger ban

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In response to remarks made by Nigeria’s aviation minister about passenger services being banned, the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said it would work with countries around the world to open up air routes.

GCAA said in a statement to state news agency Wam that it would continue to pursue ways to facilitate travel without compromising public health and safety and in line with international aviation standards.

Restrictions have been in place since March for passengers traveling between the UAE and Nigeria. Travel to or from Lagos and Abuja will not be accepted, nor will customers who have been to or connected through the west African country within the past 14 days.

The UAE has also imposed restrictions on South Africa, where the highly infectious Beta variant of Covid-19 was first reported.

In an article published last week, Nigeria’s Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika claimed that his country had been unfairly singled out by the UAE flight restrictions and Emirates Airline.

In this regard, the GCAA looks forward to reviewing constructive responses from the relevant authorities in Nigeria, following consultations held between the UAE embassy and Nigerian officials over the recent months, according to the statement issued on Sunday by the GCAA.

As a result of the pandemic, UAE authorities have taken difficult but necessary decisions to protect residents’ health.

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This included specific measures restricting travel between the UAE and countries where Covid-19 matters are particularly severe.

To date, 2.3 million tests have been carried out in Nigeria, which has 201 million.

A total of 3,397,472 vaccine doses have been administered, with 1,155,810 people fully vaccinated, or 0.58 percent of the population.

“This list of countries is subject to regular review and change,” the GCAA said.

The decisions were made after reviewing the prevalence of concerning variants, the number of passengers arriving from each country who subsequently tested positive for Covid-19, and the integrity of domestic testing facilities.

According to GCAA, certain airlines were not exempt from these measures.

In a statement, the GCAA said, “The UAE government continues to coordinate with the Nigerian government and to monitor the current situation closely and will take updated measures that are in the best interests of citizens, residents, and visitors.”

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