By Abdiaziz Loyal – Mogadishu, Somalia, Sunday, March 29, 2020.
All local flights within Somalia will be halted starting Sunday, March 29, 2020, the government has said while extending the international flights ban which was set to lapse this week.
The Ministry of Transport and Aviation said Saturday but for humanitarian flights, all local flights will remain grounded from Sunday as the country ups measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
According to the Ministry, humanitarian flights, most of which are operated by UN agencies will have to seek clearance 24 hours prior to departure. All crew must observe directives from the Ministry of Health regarding the COVID-19 measures, the Ministry added.
Somalia had banned international flights mid this month for a period of two weeks in addition to closing all learning institutions for the same period of time after the country recorded its first COVID-19 case. A UN contractor tested positive for the disease Friday and the COVID-19 cases rise to three.
Meanwhile, the country’s President, Mohamed Farmaajo has called for public vigilance and observance of all health measures to curb the spread of the novel Coronavirus.
Addressing the nation for the first time since the onset of COVID-19 in the country, President Farmaajo said all Somalis must work with the government and observe directives from the Health Ministry to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The President also wished quick recovery the country’s former Prime Minister Nur Hassan who tested positive for the COVID-19 in the UK. The 83-year-old former leader was Prime Minister from 2007 to 2009.