The National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents has called for the sensitisation of air travellers and tourists coming into Nigeria as a way of curbing the spread of Coronavirus.

The aviation and travel industry stakeholder disclosed that following the outbreak of the pandemic from China and spread to other parts of the world including Nigeria, airlines had seen a 20 per cent drop in passenger traffic as a result of the situation.

Speaking at a briefing with journalists in Lagos ahead of the organisation’s annual general meeting in Kano, NANTA President, Mr Bankole Bernard, said that as major players in the aviation and travel sector of the country, they would work with relevant government agencies to spread awareness of the virus and ensure persons coming into Nigeria from the ports of entry adhere to preventive measures adopted.

He said, “Indeed, there has been a decline in traffic but we see Nigerians changing their movement. If Nigeria operates the open skies approach, some of the international carriers will apply to fly two or three aircrafts into Nigeria because Nigeria is doing all it can to curtail the spread of the virus.

“We are still selling tickets, although not as much as we used to. Coronavirus did not affect local flights.

“NANTA supports the very systematic approach of the health organisations and the aviation agencies at our airports. We also commend the airlines for standing strong at a period like this despite operational challenges initiated to address and halt the spread.

“As professionals, we have advised our members to consider the safety and health of any intending passengers in all travel solutions they proffer and share information to all intending passengers in order to guide them where necessary.

“We are looking to set up a special call line to help those who want to reach out to NANTA on the issue, as it affects their travel to high-risk countries.

“Our AGM in Kano promises to live up to our established protocols in terms of quality attendance and discussions on notable industry issues including on this pandemic.”

On Wednesday, Nigeria announced five new cases of Coronavirus, bringing to eight the total number of cases in the country.

To further curb the spread of the pandemic, travellers from 13 countries including the United States, China, Italy and others were banned from entering Nigeria.

A number of state governments have also announced the immediate closure of schools and banned public gatherings of more than 50 persons to arrest the situation. 

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