Roundup: Nigeria bans high-density gatherings amid COVID-19 spread

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-19 22:59:41|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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ABUJA, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Nigeria has banned high-density gatherings that are likely to bring 50 or more persons in the same space in two southwestern states following as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) begins to spread in the country.

Eight confirmed COVID-19 cases have been recorded so far in the country, with one each traced to the southwestern states of Ogun and Ekiti, and six others in Lagos, the commercial hub and most populous city.

The ban follows a raft of measures earlier announced by the federal government of Nigeria to contain the pandemic.

The ban, aimed at complementing measures taken to contain the spread of the pandemic in the state and Nigeria at large, will last for one month in the first instance and covers gatherings in places like cinemas, nightclubs, cafes, restaurants, and sports arenas, the statement said.

"The restriction has to be enforced without prejudice to people's fundamental rights to association and movement because the safety of our people and their welfare are priorities that cannot be toyed with," the statement further said, noting the move was more necessary given the peculiarity of Ogun's location as Nigeria's gateway state and industrial capital.

In Lagos, the government said in agreement with religious leaders, it has banned all religious congregational service involving over 50 worshippers for four weeks to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus in the state.

The figure was pegged at 50, as it would be manageable for religious leaders to control in mosques and churches, as well as easier to trace people in that number, the government further said.

"While the constitution allows for freedom of association and worship, we are of the opinion that we should exercise our rights with extreme caution so as to avoid contacting and spreading of this disease," the government added.