Somalia has extended the international flights ban and canceled all local flights to curb the import and spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Ministry of Transport said a statement Saturday the ban which had been imposed for a period of two weeks mid this month would be extended as the country seeks to tighten measures in response to the global spread of COVID-19.
“The ban on international flights has been extended and a ban on local flights will come to effect March 29, 2020,” the Ministry said.
Only humanitarian flights will be exempted from the local flight’s ban, the Ministry said adding, “They must seek clearance 24 hours prior to flight.’
Somalia recorded the second case of COVID-19 on Friday. The Health Ministry said the patient was a UN contractor based at the heavily fortified Halane area which borders Aden Adde Airport.
The announcement by the Transport Ministry follows a warning by Health Minister Dr. Fawziya Abikar that COVID-19 infected persons could still access the country through the land and sea borders.
Dr. Fawziya said in a media interview that whereas Somalia had banned international flights, many people still access the country through the porous borders such as from Kenya, Ethiopia or Djibouti.