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UPDATE 2-Nigeria to bar flights from countries that block Nigerians - minister

(Updates with clarification from spokesman)

LAGOS, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Nigeria will blocks flights from countries that do not allow Nigerian flights to land due to coronavirus restrictions, Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika said on Thursday.

“The principle of reciprocity will be applied,” Sirika told reporters. “If you ban us from coming to your country, the same will apply the other way.”

A spokesman for the minister said Sirika was referring to landing rights for aircraft, and not the nationals of the countries.

The director general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority said that authorities were still drafting the list, but added that the European Union was among those barring Nigerians.

Nigeria earlier this week announced plans to resume international flights on Aug. 29. All but essential international flights were halted in late March in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus.

The resumption will begin with four flights daily coming in to both Lagos and Abuja, but Sirika said that initially the number of passengers would be limited to 1,280 a day.

Nigeria has 50,488 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and has recorded 985 deaths. (Reporting by Libby George and Felix Onuah, additional reporting by Camillus Eboh in Abuja; Editing by Nick Macfie and Hugh Lawson)

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