Nigerian president orders lockdown of Abuja, Lagos over COVID-19 spread

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-30 20:34:22|Editor: yhy
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ABUJA, March 30 (Xinhua) -- Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the halting of all movements and activities in the capital Abuja and commercial hub Lagos over the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The lockdown for an initial period of two weeks, which takes effect from Monday, will also affect the southwestern state of Ogun, the nation's industrial hub, and neighboring state to Lagos, the president said in his latest broadcast to Nigerians over the coronavirus pandemic.

Ogun State was included in the restriction list due to its close proximity to Lagos and the high traffic between the two states, the president explained.

"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," he further declared.

Buhari said the period will be used to contain, identify, trace and isolate all individuals that have come into contact with confirmed cases, as well as ensure the treatment of confirmed cases while restricting further spread to other states.

"This order does not apply to hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organizations in healthcare-related manufacturing and distribution," he said.

Commercial establishments, such as food processing, distribution, retail companies, petroleum distribution, retail entities, power generation, transmission and distribution companies, and private security companies are also exempted.

"Although these establishments are exempted, access will be restricted and monitored," Buhari said, adding that "workers in telecommunication companies, broadcasters, print and electronic media staff who can prove they are unable to work from home are also exempted."

However, the president said all seaports in Lagos shall remain operational in accordance with the guidelines he earlier issued. 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.

"Movements of all passenger aircraft, both commercial and private jets, are hereby suspended. Special permits will be issued on a needs basis. We are fully aware that such measures will cause much hardship and inconvenience to many citizens," he said.

Over 100 cases of the novel coronavirus have been recorded across 12 states in Nigeria so far, with the country's center for disease control reporting a total of 111 confirmed cases.