An evacuee being screened by consular officials at the Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey, Score departure on Friday, July 17, 2020.

By Harrison Arubu

Another three Nigerians have missed the special US-Abuja flight arranged to evacuate Nigerians stranded in the United States due to the coronavirus pandemic.

They were dropped for failing to present COVID-19 test results.

Nine persons, including a family of five, were dropped from the last flight for the same reason.

However, Mr Benaoyagha Okoyen, the Consul General of Nigeria in New York, who oversaw the evacuation, said arrangement had been made to accommodate them in the next flight scheduled for July 28.

He said a fully booked plane, with 324 passengers on board, left the Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey, on Friday night, and expected to arrive at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Saturday afternoon.

This is the third evacuation flight from the U.S. arranged by the Federal Government in two months, bringing the total number of evacuees to 811.

The travelers were screened for COVID-19 symptoms and subjected to other monitoring requirements, including presentation of their coronavirus test results.

The COVID-19 test result is one of the requirements for evacuation under the Revised Quarantine Protocol of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

The U.S., which has been an epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis, is grappling with what experts call the second wave of infections, with a record 75,600 new cases on Thursday alone.

With the consular officials at the airport was Dr Philip Ozuah, a nationally-recognized U.S.-based Nigerian medical doctor and Chief Executive Officer of Montefiore Medical Centre, New York.

Ozuah said he was there in solidarity with the consular officials for “the amazing evacuation operations”.

Some executive members of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Americas (NIDOA) led by their Treasurer, Mr Kazeem Bello, were also on hand to lend their support.

They distributed free safety kits, including masks and hand sanitizers, to the evacuees.