As countries continue to evacuate their citizens from Nigeria since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States and Canada yesterday evacuated 585 of its citizens.
While 385 Americans were evacuated, Canada also evacuated 200 citizens in two separate flights operated by Ethiopian Airlines.
The Americans were scheduled to be evacuated last Friday before the flight was stalled following issues of flight permits in some West African countries.
The Americans left Nigeria despite the advisory by the Embassy that they would be responsible for their medical bill because health facilities in the United States (US) are currently overstretched due to the COVID-19.
Daily Trust reports that the US remains the epicentre of the deadly coronavirus pandemic globally with close to 344,000 cases as at yesterday.
The United States Embassy in Nigeria said in a statement on its website that evacuees will have to pay the cost of evacuation flights or sign a promissory note to repay the full cost of the seat for a one-way flight to a single destination in the US.
It warned that travellers may not be able to return to Nigeria since airports have closed to all commercial international flights.
“If you evacuate to the United States, it is unlikely you will be able to return to Nigeria until the Nigerian government reopens the airports and commercial flights resume,” the embassy said.
Despite the advisory, the Americans left Nigeria around 5 pm yesterday.
Ethiopian Airlines also evacuated 200 Canadians from Lagos and Abuja to Addis Ababa en route Toronto, Canada with a B767 aircraft, which left the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) around 4 pm yesterday.
With yesterday’s evacuation, the number of foreigners who have left Nigeria since the airports were closed to International traffic rose to 2,166.
According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), five COVID-19 patients have died in Nigeria so far, while 33 people have recovered and been discharged from hospital.
Since its outbreak in Wuhan, China, last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 183 countries and regions, according to figures compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
Nearly 1.3 million cases have been reported worldwide so far, with the global death toll at over 70,000, and over 270,000 recoveries.