A Nigerian passenger who was billed to travel from Lagos to Asaba on Air Peace flight yesterday was stopped and isolated by the airline’s Coronavirus screening team when it discovered that he was very sick at the domestic terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, known as MMA2.
An official of the airline told THISDAY that the passenger was supposed to travel on Monday but deferred his flight to yesterday probably because he was too sick to travel.
On Monday, Air Peace deployed personnel at every airport it operates in to check passengers’ temperature and subject them to hand sanitisation and anyone with high temperature was referred to Port Health.
It was when the temperature of this passenger was being checked that the airline personnel discovered that he was very sick and the temperature was very high.
The airline isolated him immediately and notified the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Port Health.
THISDAY also learnt that the passenger, who was immediately denied flight by Air Peace, returned recently from UK and that he had been taken to hospital where he had undertaken treatment without informing concerned authorities, the Lagos State Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Air Peace, Mrs. Toyin Olajide, confirmed the incident and disclosed that the passenger was checked in by proxy; maybe, because he did want to be noticed to be sick, but the management of the airline had deployed staff that strictly monitors passengers checked in by agents, especially since the Coronavirus became a pandemic.
“A passenger who we learnt came into the country from UK and was very sick was stopped by our screening team when he was found to be very sick and we referred him to NCAA, FAAN and Port Health.
“Our records showed that he was supposed to travel on Monday but he moved his flight to yesterday but because of the stringent measures we put in place, our staff was able to detect him. We made it mandatory that every passenger must be screened and must use sanitiser before boarding our flight. He was not allowed to board our flight, he was immediately isolated.
“We made sure he did not come to Air Peace counter and for the fact that he was checked in by proxy, we suspected he had something to hide. All those who are checked in by agents are closely monitored by our staff.
“We commend government for what it is already doing to curtail the spread of this Coronavirus but Nigerians expect government to intensify efforts to stop the spread. We are collaborating with government to ensure that the disease is stopped from spreading in the country. We also commend our staff for its vigilance without which this case would not have been detected,” Olajide said.
THISDAY did not have access to the passenger for his reaction, but an airport worker who craved anonymity said that passengers and other airport workers at the terminal were apprehensive and afraid when they heard that the passenger came from the UK.
The management of Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), the operator of MMA2 was said to have given the passenger hand gloves and mask after he was isolated.