A number of medical experts have espoused divergent views on the decision of the Federal Government to lift the ban on intentional flights – with one urging caution and the other backing it.
On his part, a consultant at the Federal Medical Centre, Ebute Metta, Lagos Dr. Abiodun Adeyanju urged that Nigeria should be careful not to fall into the pit of a second wave of coronavirus, as has been the case in some western countries.
Adeyanju gave the warning in the wake of opening of the air space for international flights as the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika announced that the international flights which were suspended in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic in March will be reopened on Saturday, August 29.
Adeyanju said: “The Health Minister is just being careful so that we do not take a decision we will regret later. “The illusion out there is that COVID-19 is history so let’s live our lives!
That would be the error. As much as we want to reopen international flights for the sake of the economy, we must be careful in doing so, with guidelines that must be obeyed. Some countries are having a second wave of COVID-19. We should not fall into that pit.”
However, in his reaction an epidemiologist has assured that with adequate preventive measure in place flights should be safe for air passengers and members of crew. Speaking exclusively to the Sunday Telegraph, Bayo Onajole, a Professor of Community Medicine, said resuming flight operations now was safe provided adequate preventive measures would be in place and strict compliance observed by both passengers as well as flight attendants.
Giving his views on why the flights would be safe, Onajole, who is also a consultant public health physician at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH)/ College of Medicine University of Lagos (CMUL), said presently, the prevalence of COVID-19 in the country was no longer on the increase.
According to him, although, the COVID-19 curve has been going up and down: “If the number of infections was on the increase one would have been worried.”
While he affirmed that the planned flights would be safe, he compared the outcome from countries where flight operations have resumed, saying: “Looking at countries that have resumed flights there has not been drastic increased infection in the number of people that get into the flights.”
However, he recommended that what the flight operators should do is to ensure that those who are going to fly should be tested for coronavirus and confirmed COVID- 19 negative before they embark on their journey.
In addition, to ensure safe outcome, Onajole said, “You must put in place a lot of preventive measures before the flight, during flight and after the flight.”