Coronavirus: Nigeria advises all Abuja, Lagos residents to stay at home
Nigerian Government Monday advised residents of Abuja and Lagos, the two cities which are hardest hit by coronavirus, to stay at home “until further advice is given”.
Nigeria currently has 36 confirmed cases of the virus but two of those have recovered and have been discharged. Lagos State has 25 cases while Abuja 6. One death has so far been recorded.
The virus has infected over 361, 510 persons worldwide, killing, at least, 16, 146 according to an AFP tally on Monday evening.
“All Abuja and Lagos residents are strongly advised to stay at home, avoid mass congregation of any kind as well as non-essential outings, until further advice is given,” the Presidency said on Twitter.
Italy, which recorded its first coronavirus death in February, now has more fatalities than China with 6,077, as well as having 63,927 declared infections with 7,432 recoveries.
The move to partially lock down two of Nigeria’s most important cities – Lagos is its economic capital and Abuja its administrative and political centre – came after President Muhammadu Buhari was criticised for not providing leadership to the country in time of crisis.
The Presidency asked all citizens to respect the “advisory and…measures put in place to curtail the spread of #COVID19.”
Nigeria also tightened the screw on entry into the country by foreigners, closing its land borders to human traffic for four weeks. One of the persons, who tested positive for the virus, entered the country through one of its land borders.
The country announced last week that all its international airports would not welcome international flights and suspended its visa-on-arrival programme.
That measure itself came after it initially halted flights from 15 countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, South Korea, Iran, Italy and China, Others included Japan, France, Germany, Norway, Netherlands and Switzerland. Austria and Sweden are also on the list.
Inching towards a lockdown?
Lagos State governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has taken steps in the last few days to break the circle of transmission. Such measures included shutting down all schools in the state and limiting the number of people at social and religious gatherings to a maximum of 50.
On Saturday, he told civil servants on levels 1 t0 12 to work from home for the next two weeks.
The affected workers constituted about 70% of the state’s workforce. He also advised private firms to allow their non-essential service staff to work from home.
While federal civil servants may be handed similar order in the next few hours, states such as Ogun, Ekiti, Kogi and Ondo have announced similar measures. The first two have recorded cases of the virus.
Earlier on Monday, Nigeria’s information minister Lai Mohammed said the government was ready to put in place tougher measures to curtail the spread of the virus if warranted.
Mohammed said authorities may consider a partial shut down in order to enforce social distancing to contain the spread of the virus. Nigeria’s First Lady Aisha Buhari, however, called for a total lockdown of the country.
If Nigeria eventually goes into lockdown, it will be following in the steps of two other African countries – Rwanda and South Africa – that have done so.