Turkish Airlines cancels flights to Nigeria over coronavirus

Turkish Airlines has canceled all flights to Nigeria over COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Turkish Airlines, which brought into Nigeria the Italian who tested positive for coronavirus on February 27, said in a statement it was canceling all flights to Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt, the three international airports it operates in, over coronavirus.

Local newspapers reported that the cancelation would begin for flights scheduled to arrive Lagos on March 17, 23 and 29 as well as flights scheduled to land in Abuja for March 13, 16, 20, 25, 27 and April 1, 2020. Flights for Port-Harcourt will not operate on March 11, 13, 18, 25 and 25, the carrier said, adding that the action was taken “in view of the coronavirus situation all over the world”.

 A second person tested positive for coronavirus in Nigeria on Monday, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) announced, almost two weeks after Africa’s most populous country reported its first confirmed coronavirus case on February 28, 2020.

The second person had contact with an Italian who traveled from Milan to Nigeria’s most populous city of Lagos and tested positive for coronavirus on February 27, NCDC said.

“This second case is a contact of the index case, in Ogun state. The new case has been in isolation and was tested as part of our strategy to test all contacts of the index case,” NCDC tweeted.

The 44-year old Italian citizen tested positive for COVID-19 in Lagos State. The case was the first to be reported in Nigeria since the first confirmed case was reported from China.

The Italian and the Nigerian citizen, who remain isolated, had contact in Ogun state, western Nigeria, where the Italian visited a company for business.

In a statement on Monday, March 9, 2020, NCDC said there were now two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria. It said a total of 27 people have been screened for COVID-19 in five States – Edo, Lagos, Ogun, FCT and Kano – out of which 25 tested negative and have been ruled out while two were confirmed positive (index case and a contact of index case) with no death.

NCDC said a total of 216 contacts were linked to the index case comprising of four contacts at the airport, four at the hotel, 39 at the workplace and 169 from the airline.

“Of the 216, 45 travelled out of Nigeria and 171 are presently in Nigeria. Of the 171 in Nigeria, 69 are in Lagos, 40 in Ogun and 52 are in 10 States – Akwa Ibom, Anambra,
Bayelsa, Cross River, Edo, Imo, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, and Rivers – and 11 in unknown locations.

“Of the 171 contacts currently in Nigeria, 136 (79%) are currently being followed up comprising 62 (90%) in Lagos, 39 (100%) in Ogun and 34 (65%) in other States.

“The two confirmed cases are clinically stable at the designated treatment facility for COVID-19 at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH), Yaba, Lagos.

“A multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC), activated at level 3, continues to coordinate the national response activities The first SARS-CoV-2 gene from the index patient was published online through a joint collaboration between Lagos State Ministry of Health, NIMR, ACEGID, LUTH and NCDC2 Global situation: As at 8th March 2020, a total of 105,586 confirmed cases reported (76.7% cases in China) and 3,584 deaths. Number of countries/territories/areas affected within the last 24 hours increased by eight countries (Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Faroe Islands, French Guiana, Maldives, Malta, Martinique, and Republic of Moldova) making a total of 102 countries3
“Nine of 54 countries in Africa with reported cases; Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal, Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroon and Togo”

By Monday evening, there are now at least 91 cases of coronavirus reported in at least 9 African countries. The nine countries are located in western, central, northern and southern Africa.

In Algeria, there were 20 cases of coronavirus infection, 16 of them in the same family. Egypt has reported 55 cases. There were also four people infected in Senegalthree in South Africatwo in Moroccotwo in Cameroontwo in Nigeria, two Tunisia and one in Togo, according to virus track.

20 Algeria2 Morocco1 Togo
55 Egypt3 South Africa2 Nigeria
4 Senegal2 Cameroon2 Tunisia

A Nigerian also tested positive for coronavirus in the United States, Washington D.C. Mayor, Muriel Bowser announced at a news conference on Saturday night.

By canceling to Nigeria, Turkish Airlines joins many other airlines around the world that havd suspended flight services over coronavirus.

Reuters news agency has listed out in a report many of the flights canceled over coronavirus.

Reuters wrote:

American Airlines (AAL.O) extended the suspension of China and Hong Kong flights through April 24

– Air France (AIRF.PA) canceled flights to mainland China to the end of March.

– Air India suspended flights to Shanghai, Hong Kong until June 30

– Air Seoul suspended China flights until further notice.

– Air Tanzania, which planned to begin a charter service to China in February, postponed its maiden flights.

– Air Mauritius suspended all flights to China and Hong Kong

– Austrian Airlines extended its cancellations to March and April. (bit.ly/32SSwVG)

– British Airways (ICAG.L) extended suspensions until April 17.

– Delta Airlines (DAL.N) flights suspended to April 30

– Egyptair resumed some flights to and from China.

– El Al Israel Airlines (ELAL.TA) extends suspension of flights to Hong Kong and Beijing until May 2.

– Iberia Airlines (ICAG.L) extended the suspension of flights from Madrid to Shanghai, its only route, until the end of April.

– Finnair (FIA1S.HE) canceled all flights to mainland China flights and some Hong Kong flights until the end of April.

– JejuAir Co Ltd (089590.KS) suspended all China routes starting March 1.

– Kenya Airways (KQNA.NR) suspended flights until further notice.

– KLM said it would extend its ban on flights to Chengdu, Hangzhou and Xiamen in China to at least May 3. It expects to resume flights to Beijing and Shanghai on March 29.

– Lion Air suspended all flights to China from February, and has waived travel change fees for flights up to April 30. (bit.ly/2wDh6O0)

– LOT extended suspensions until March 28.

– Lufthansa extended cancellations until April 24.

– Oman Air suspended flights until further notice.

– Qantas Airlines’ (QAN.AX) sole remaining route to mainland China, Syndey-Shanghai, has been suspended and its Hong Kong flights are reduced. (bit.ly/39vf3dw)

– Qatar Airways suspended until further notice.

– Rwandair suspended until further notice.

– Saudia, Saudi Arabia’s state airline, suspended flights on Feb. 2.

– Scoot, Singapore Airlines’ (SIAL.SI) low-cost carrier, suspended until further notice.

– United Airlines (UAL.O) suspended its Hong Kong service until April 23.

– Vietjet VJC.HM and Vietnam Airlines HVN.HM suspended flights to the mainland as well as Hong Kong and Macau to April 30.


– Air Canada (AC.TO) extended the suspension of its flights to Beijing and Shanghai until March 27. It also suspended its Toronto to Hong Kong flights to March 27.[bit.ly/39zgmI0]

– Air China (601111.SS) said it would cancel flights to Athens, Greece, to March 18 and adjust flights between China and the United States. On Feb. 28, it resumed flying to Frankfurt from Chengdu following a 21-day suspension.

– Air New Zealand (AIR.NZ) said its network capacity would fall by 10% between February and June, including a 26% cut to Asia, 7% to Australia and 4% in the domestic market.

– ANA Holdings (9202.T) suspended routes including Shanghai and Hong Kong until further notice.

– Brussels Airlines, a Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) unit, said it would cut flights to northern Italy by 30% from March 2 to 14.

– Cathay Pacific Airways (0293.HK) said it plans 30% of its capacity and 90% of flights to mainland China over two months from Feb. 5.

– China Southern Airlines (600029.SS) recommenced flights on Feb. 25 to Nairobi from Guangzhou.

– Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways suspends flights to Hong Kong until March 28.

– The UAE suspended flights to most of mainland China, all flights to Iran.

– Hainan Airlines suspends flights between Budapest, Hungary, and Chongqing to March 27.

– Kenya’s High Court ordered flights from China to be temporarily suspended.

– Korean Air Lines Co (003490.KS), the national flag carrier, has canceled or reduced services on 50 routes in Northeast Asia. (bit.ly/32XMG5b)

– Philippine Airlines [PHL.UL] cut the number of flights between Manila and China by over half.

– Royal Air Maroc, which launched a new route between its Casablanca hub and Beijing in mid-January, proposed to carry forward to May 31 tickets for the flights it canceled from the end of January. (bit.ly/2TFRGrb)

– All Russian airlines, except Ikar and state airline Aeroflot (AFLT.MM), stopped flying to China from Jan. 31. Aeroflot, which is using a separate Moscow terminal for flights from China, suspended its flights to Hong Kong from March 7 and from Hong Kong the following day.

– Nordic airline SAS (SAS.ST) extended its Shanghai and Beijing suspensions until March 29, and cut flights to Hong Kong from March 5.

– Singapore Airlines (SIAL.SI) suspended or cut capacity on flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Xiamen and Chongqing.

Read full report on Reuters.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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