A family is seen in a  queue at the domestic wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on its re-opening day for domestic flight operations, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Abuja
A family is seen in a line at the domestic wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on its reopening day for domestic flight operations, following the coronavirus disease outbreak, in Abuja, Nigeria, July 8, 2020.

Officials in Nigeria say domestic flights are now available for the first time since restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus began.

Airports in the capital, Abuja, and its largest city, Lagos, reopened for flights Wednesday, with more airports resuming operations within a week.

No date has been announced for international flights to resume.

The resumption of domestic flights to lift Africa’s largest economy comes with some new protocols, including passengers getting their temperature checked and maintaining social distancing.

Traveler Daniel Ogbolem welcomed the new safety measures put in place.  “The protocol is nice,” he said. “First of all you come, they will sanitize your luggage, you'll wash your hands, you'll go and clean up and join the queue, so it’s good.” He added, “the safe distance is cool, wearing of nose masks and everything is good."

Nigerian airport official Henrietta Yakubu is appealing to the public to follow the new protocols and procedures, saying the government is not trying to punish travelers or extend their time at the airport, but only to provide a safe environment.

Nigeria has gradually relaxed restrictions in recent weeks, including allowing interstate travel.

So far, Nigeria has confirmed more than 30,000 COVID-19 cases and 684 deaths. 

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