Domestic carriers Air Peace is set to leave for Kerala, India on May 30, in order to ferry some Indian nationals back to their country due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was contained in a memo signed by the management of Air Peace and exclusively revealed to 1st News.
According to the statement, a list of the passengers had been provided to the airline and departure is from Lagos on May 30 to Cochin Airport, Kerala.
This exercise is in collaboration with the Indian High Commission on behalf of the stranded Indians.
The group of 200 Keralites, who wish to return home urgently, comprise of pregnant women, children, elderly people with comorbidity, those who have lost their jobs, and those whose visas have expired in the last three months.
“The general situation in Nigeria is very bad. About 61 per cent of the cases being reported here have no epidemiological links which point to community transmission.
“Soon the cases will peak. The government’s isolation facilities are not satisfactory and the health system is not equipped to handle the pandemic,” said Dr Arun Gangadhar, the managing director of a small hospital in Lagos who’s exchanging correspondence with authorities on behalf of the 200-member group for repatriation.
Dr Gangadhar also confirmed they have been able to strike a deal with the Air Peace airline which is scheduled to rescue stranded Nigerians from Bengaluru and Delhi later this month.
He said, “We have handed over the letter of the airline to the Indian high commission for approval. They acknowledged the letter and said they will get back to us.
“We have also sent copies to the Kerala health department which has forwarded it to the COVID war-room at the Centre. Till date, we haven’t got a response.”
“This is the easiest way for us to reach home. All the government has to do is give landing permit to the airline at Cochin airport,” said 54-year-old Shaji Jacob; who works with a trading firm in Lagos and is desperate to return home.
Jacob’s family, back in Alappuzha in Kerala, are anxious about his continued stay in Nigeria.
“I have underlying health conditions like cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Naturally, they are worried. The health system here is not as efficient as it is back home.
“There are no adequate ventilators, testing kits or PPE kits for doctors. People are scared to go to hospitals even if they suffer from COVID symptoms,” he said.