Emirates extends suspension of Nigerian flights to September 19

Travel to and from Nigeria remains suspended as there is no testing facility available at Lagos airport

(FILES) In this file photo, an Emirates Airlines Boing 777 plane unloads a coronavirus vaccine shipment at Dubai International Airport on February 1, 2021. Dubai-based Emirates airline on Tuesday posted a $5.5 billion annual loss, its first in more than three decades, after the coronavirus pandemic devastated the aviation industry. / AFP / Karim SAHIB
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Emirates has extended its suspension of flights to Nigeria until at least September 19.

The Dubai airline previously announced last month that its passenger services to Nigeria would be suspended until September 5.

However, in response to a passenger query on Twitter, Emirates said flights to and from Nigeria would remain suspended for a further two weeks.

“Our flights from Lagos are further suspended until 19th September. We're in the process of updating our website with this information,” Emirates Support said on Twitter.

Emirates' website says customers who have been to or connected through Nigeria in the last 14 days will not be permitted on any Emirates flights bound for Dubai.

The airline advises passengers affected by the changes to contact Emirates regarding rebooking.

Separately, the airline said travel to and from Nigeria remains suspended as there is no testing facility available at the airport in Lagos, after another passenger asked Emirates Support if someone could travel to Dubai.

The same rules apply to passengers from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Zambia and Indonesia, where there are also no rapid PCR testing facilities at the airports.

However, UAE residents can seek permission from either the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, GDRFA, if they live in Dubai, or the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, ICA, if they live elsewhere in the country, to return from Nigeria.

Passenger services between the UAE and Nigeria have been subject to restrictions since March.

Nigeria has reported more than 191,805 infections and close to 2,500 deaths since February last year, but the actual figures are believed to be higher, in part because of low testing rates.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said infection rates have risen since it detected the delta variant in July.

As of Monday this week, 2.8 million people had received a first vaccine dose, according to the agency in charge of the roll-out, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.

Nigerian authorities plan to vaccinate at least 110 million people over the next two years.

Agence France Presse news agency reported this week that two southern Nigerian states were trying to introduce Covid-19 vaccine passes for access to public places and gatherings, in a bid to overcome vaccine hesitancy and increase inoculation rates in Africa's most populous nation.

Updated: September 03, 2021, 8:25 AM