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Coronavirus: Nigeria announces lockdown of major cities

Coronavirus hits Nigeria. President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria has ordered a lockdown of the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun states to curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Addressing the nation, Mr Buhari said the lockdown which begins today at 11pm will be for an initial period of 14 days.

“I am directing the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11 p.m. [2000GMT] on Monday, 30th March 2020. This restriction will also apply to Ogun State due to its close proximity to Lagos and heavy traffic between the two states,” he said.

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed on Sunday that so far there are 111 confirmed coronavirus cases in Nigeria, “On the 29th of March 2020, fourteen (14) new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were recorded in Nigeria,” NCDC said.

“All citizens in these areas are to stay in their homes. Travel to or from other states should be postponed. All businesses and offices within these locations should be fully closed during this period,” Mr Buhari said. “The governors of Lagos and Ogun states as well as the Minister of the FCT have been notified. Furthermore, heads of security and intelligence agencies have also been briefed. We will use this containment period to identify, trace and isolate all individuals that have come into contact with confirmed cases. We will ensure the treatment of confirmed cases while restricting further spread to other states.”

Mr Buhari said all flights to the 3 states will be suspended. Only means vehicle supplying foodstuffs and medical supplies will be allowed to travel in strict compliance to safety regulations.

The companies and sectors exempted from the lockdown are: food processing, distribution and retail companies; petroleum distribution and retail entities; power generation, transmission and distribution companies; and private security companies. “Hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organisations in healthcare-related manufacturing and distribution” are also exempted.

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“Workers in telecommunication companies, broadcasters, print and electronic media staff who can prove they are unable to work from home are also exempted,” President Buhari said.

“All seaports in Lagos shall remain operational in accordance with the guidelines I issued earlier. Vehicles and drivers conveying essential cargoes from these ports to other parts of the country will be screened thoroughly before departure by the Ports Health Authority.

“Furthermore, all vehicles conveying food and other essential humanitarian items into these locations from other parts of the country will also be screened thoroughly before they are allowed to enter these restricted areas.

“Accordingly, the minister of health is hereby directed to redeploy all Port Health Authority employees previously stationed in the Lagos and Abuja airports to key roads that serve as entry and exit points to these restricted zones.

“Movements of all passenger aircraft, both commercial and private jets, are hereby suspended. Special permits will be issued on a need basis.”