Nigeria in lockdown

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NIGERIA has been shut down as states make frantic efforts to curtail the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The confirmed positive cases rose to 65 on Thursday from 51 the day before.

Most of the states on Thursday shut their entry and exit points.

The Federal Government also said it is likely to ban travels within and between states.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said more “aggressive” measures will be announced soon.

He told reporters: “I don’t intend to sound apocalyptic. But the truth is that time is running out.

“We have a short window within which to stop this pandemic or face an explosion in terms of the cases. We cannot afford to be complacent.

“In view of this, we are considering tougher measures to enforce compliance, stop the exportation of the disease to states that do not have it and minimise spread.

“Possible measures include stopping inter-state/inter-town travels except for essential services; closing all motor parks and inter-state rail stations – already, all train movements nationwide have been stopped; and using firefighting and other adaptable vehicles and personnel to fumigate cities and towns.

“We will be considering and announcing new measures from time to time, but rest assured that whatever decisions we take will be in the best interest of Nigerians.”

Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa ordered the closure of all land borders, as well as the Asaba airport.

He said: “After a meeting with the Central Committee on Managing and Containing Coronavirus Pandemic headed by me, several far-reaching decisions were reached.

“I hereby order as follows: Asaba airport is to close to traffic effective from Friday, March 27, 2020, by 6 p.m.

“All land borders into and out of Delta are to be shut effective 6 am, Sunday, March 29, 2020.

“All business malls, supermarkets, markets and shops are to close from  April 1, 2020.

“All residents in the state are to stay at home from April 1, while food sellers are to conduct their businesses within the precinct of their homes and are required to strictly adhere to the social distancing rules.”

Kano State ordered the closure of all routes linking the state from other parts of the country with effect from midnight today.

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Abba Anwar, said in a statement: “This decision is hard, but absolutely necessary, as part of precautionary measures against the deadly COVID-19 possible spread.

“We urge Kano citizens and all other Nigerians to bear with this difficult situation.”

Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel also ordered the closure of all borders and roads leading to the state.

Secretary to the State Government, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, directed Ibom Air to suspend all flights as from Sunday.

The state directed workers to stay at home for a week and approved the payment of their March salary.

Akwa Ibom also shut markets, except those selling foodstuff and essential items.

“While the one-week stay-at-home order subsists, Akwa Ibom government will continue to monitor and provide regular updates on any development in the COVID-19 situation in our state,” Ekuwem said.

Kaduna State on Thursday imposed a curfew following noncompliance with certain measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, who said the state invoked Sections 2 and 8 of the Quarantine Act 1926, announced the shutdown.

“From midnight on Thursday, all residents of Kaduna State must stay at home. No offices, businesses of any sort or places of worship are allowed to open.”

He said only essential workers are allowed to move about.

Bayelsa State ordered the immediate closure of all land and sea entry and exit points.

Governor Douye Diri gave the order after being briefed by the COVID-19 taskforce.

Acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as also directing that all mortuaries be closed forthwith to ensure compliance with the earlier directive on the suspension of burial and wedding ceremonies for two weeks.

Ebonyi State said it would close all borders tomorrow.

Governor David Umahi said though the state had no confirmed case, the borders will be closed to commuters.

Secretary to the State Government, Kenneth Ugbala, said: “Ebonyi State Government shall from Saturday 28th March 2020 stop all passenger vehicles from entering the state.

“There will be restriction of passengers/commuters coming in and out of Ebonyi State.”

Also on Thursday, Osun State announced the closure of major markets and malls are to be shut with effect from today, the state said and limited the boarding capacity of vehicles.

Secretary to the State Government, Prince Wole Oyebamiji, said only those selling food and medical products are exempt.

“All motorcycles henceforth will carry only one passenger, while all minibuses will carry only four passengers with one passenger in front, one in the middle and two at the back seat,” he said.

Osun advised those who returned from high-risk countries, such as the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States of America in the last two weeks to call 293.

Anambra State ordered the closure of all markets for 14 days. Secretary to the State Government, Prof Solo Chukwulobelu, said it will take effect from Monday.

Only businesses selling food items and medicines were authorised to stay open during the closure.

“During the 14-day period, traders should stay at home. This directive will be reviewed at the end of the 14-day period and further directives will be communicated,” he said.

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) restricted all business activities in the nation’s capital to 6 am to 9 pm.

FCTA also formed five monitoring teams to enforce compliance in parks, clubs, markets, motor parks, buses and taxis, places of worship, schools and area councils.

FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello, said all eateries are to serve food in takeaways packs.

“To ensure the effective coordination of all activities on the containment of COVID 19, the FCTA has also established the COVID 19 Situation Room to be domiciled at the FCT Call Center whose telephone numbers are:08099936312, 08099936313, 08099936314, 07080631500,” the minister told reporters.

“In addition, members of the public are advised to also use the National Emergency Toll-free number 112,” the minister said.

The Nation

– March 27, 2020 @ 08:47 GMT

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