FG threatens to ban flights from UAE, the Netherlands over violation of Covid-19 regulations
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 has threatened to ban flights from the UAE and The Netherlands as a reciprocal action.
The taskforce said the Ministry of Aviation and its relevant agencies have been mandated to take the necessary reciprocal measures as may be permissible under the laws and other international obligations expected to be discharged against Emirates airlines operating from the UAE and other airlines from The Netherlands.
The Chairman of PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha disclosed this at the routine briefing of the committee in Abuja yesterday.
Mustapha said: “For over a month, Nigeria has been engaged with the authorities of the UAE and The Netherlands over pre-departure testing requirements passengers should meet before travelling from Nigeria.”
UAE and The Netherlands are likely to face the ban on flying passengers out of Nigeria because the airlines have been using rapid Covid-19 tests on customers before they are allowed to board flights to Dubai.
The airline, in violation of guidelines issued by Covid-19 PTF, accepts passengers that have rapid antigen Covid test certificates, issued by laboratories not on the list of ones approved by the authorities, for boarding.
The new rapid testing requirement is believed to have been added to address concerns that some passengers were presenting fraudulent PCR certificates to evade existing pre-flight testing rules.
Passengers travelling from Lagos and Abuja to Dubai are already required to take a Covid-19 test within 72-hours of departure and a second on arrival in Dubai.
Only laboratories approved by the Dubai authorities should be used because of fears that some testing centres weren’t providing accurate results.
This is not the first time the Federal Government will have an issue with the Emirate airline; in February 2021, the government ban the airline temporarily for violating guidelines issued by the Covid-19 PTF.
NCAA had earlier explained in a statement that it had asked the Emirates not to press ahead with its pre-flight rapid testing requirement until the test provider had been approved by the government.