He also said President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the banning of aides of governors, ministers, military officers, National Assembly members and judicial officers from the airports with the exemption of people with disabilities who will be assisted at the airport by the ground staff of the airline as well as those with diplomatic immunity.
“Everyone who has seen me travel knows that I don’t travel with aides/assistants. I travel alone, I carry my bags by myself. I’m leading by example, so I expect all VIPs to comply with the new directive that no non-traveling aides will be permitted at the terminal,” he said.
Sirika, who spoke at Monday’s briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, explained the new airport COVID-19 procedures just as domestic airlines commence operations on Wednesday.
He said under the new arrangements, the last row of seats on the plane will be reserved for the isolation of persons who might show symptoms of coronavirus.
“There will be mandatory temperature and symptoms checks, face masks must be worn at all times inside the airport and airplane, frequent cleaning of hands and physical distancing will be maintained at all times,”the minister restated.
On the safety of the airplanes, Sirika explained the cabin air is safer than most other environments, pointing out that the processes of compression, heating, cooling, and filteration that aircraft cabin air is subjected to will take out 99.99 percent of all organisms including viruses.
“The inside of an airplane cabin is one of the most hygienic environments in the world, because of the high efficiency of the filtration and purification processes and systems for the circulating air.”
On the resumption of flights, the minister said: “Domestic flight operations will commence on Wednesday July 8, 2020. Lagos and Abuja and Kano airports have passed all tests.
“But Wednesday resumption is only for Lagos and Abuja. Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri, and Maiduguri airports are scheduled to reopen July 11.”