A third evacuation flight has departed the United States of America for Nigeria, with 324 Nigerians on board.
The flight left the Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey, shortly before midnight on Friday, and will arrive Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Saturday afternoon.
This is the third evacuation flight arranged by the Federal Government from the USA, in the last two months, and it brings the total number of evacuees to 811.
According to Nigeria’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, two more of such flights are expected from the US to Abuja and Lagos, on the 28th and 31st of July.
In line with the Revised Quarantine Protocol of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the evacuees had to present a COVID-19 negative result, and undergo other screening and monitoring at the airport before departure.
The Consul General, Mr Benaoyagha Okoyen, told the News Agency of Nigeria in an interview that three persons were denied boarding for failing to present their COVID-19 test results.
Similarly, the second flight had dropped nine persons, including a family of five for the same reason.
However, the officials of the Nigerian consulate in New York who coordinate the evacuation operations on behalf of the Nigerian missions in the U.S., have made arrangements to accommodate them in the next flight scheduled for July 28.
NAN also reports that Dr Philip Ozuah, a nationally-recognised U.S.-based Nigerian medical doctor and Chief Executive Officer of Montefiore Medical Centre, New York, was also present with the consular officials at the airport, along with some executive members of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Americas (NIDOA) led by their Treasurer, Mr Kazeem Bello.
They distributed free safety kits, including masks and hand sanitizers, to the evacuees.
The United States has experienced a surge in the COVID-19, with the recent second wave of infections. Only on Thursday, 75,600 new cases were recorded.
A total of three evacuation flights have been successfully conducted with hundreds of stranded Nigerians brought back home.