The Federal Government announced on Monday, July 27, that it would be extending its second phase of easing of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown measures by one week through to Thursday, August 6. The announcement comes as a precaution ahead of the upcoming Eid al-Adha celebrations which often involve gatherings of people. Authorities declared Thursday, July 30, and Friday, July 31, a public holiday in Nigeria, though emphasize the need for the public to continue to practice and adhere to precautionary measures and restrictions in place amid the ongoing pandemic.
The existing measures and restrictions will remain in place, including the nightly curfew between 22:00-04:00 (local time). Inter-state travel is permitted outside of the curfew hours. Bus transportation services have resumed operations, though rail services will remain closed until health guidelines are in place. Commercial transport services are permitted to take up to 60 percent of their normal passenger capacities. Domestic flights have also resumed operations, with 14 airports approved for local flight operations across the country, including airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Maiduguri, Kaduna, Yola, Uyo, Calabar, Sokoto, Birnin Kebbi, Jos, and Benin.
Additionally, restrictions on gatherings of more than 20 people are in force. Schools have reopened and certain businesses have resumed operations, subject to restrictions and limitations set by state authorities. Places of worship have also reopened and are permitted to hold services, with limitations in place. Face masks remain mandatory for all individuals and social distancing measures should continue to be observed.
As of Wednesday, July 29, there have been 41,804 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria and 868 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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