MAIDUGURI, Nigeria 

Nigeria evacuated 250 nationals Wednesday from the United Arab Emirates amid the coronavirus pandemic.  

Passengers arrived in the commercial hub of Lagos at about 8:30 p.m. local time (0730GMT) from Dubai on a commercial flight chattered by the Nigerian government.   

“They are about 250. Their arrival was rescheduled from afternoon till evening because one of the passengers delivered a baby when the flight took off from Dubai. So the flight made a U-turn back to Dubai,” Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chairwoman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission told a local television station.  

She said authorities plan to evacuate 4,000 Nigerians from the UK, US and South Africa, with a second and third batch scheduled to arrive this weekend and next week.  

Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said the government will place evacuated Nigerians in quarantine in hotels in Lagos and Abuja for 14 days before allowing them to leave.  

He ruled out COVID-19 palliatives for arrivals.   

“I’m sorry, we don’t have funds for palliatives for the returnees,” he said.  

Nigeria currently has approximately 3,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus with 98 deaths, according to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Copyright 2020 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.