On Tuesday, June 16, authorities in Lagos state announced that the reopening of places of worship, which were closed as a precaution to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), would be delayed. Mosques and churches were expected to reopen on Friday, June 19, but will now remain closed until further notice. As of Wednesday, June 17, places of worship in the rest of Nigeria are to reopen on Friday as planned.
Interstate travel remains restricted, although domestic flights in Nigeria are scheduled to resume from Sunday, June 21. Flights will initially depart from Abuja Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (ABV), Lagos Murtala Mohammed International Airport (LOS), Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (KAN), Port Harcourt International Airport (PHC), and Owerri Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport (QOW). Other airports will be permitted to operate following further review. The government offered no comment on when international flights will be permitted, with only emergency and cargo flights currently operating.
The use of face masks in public places and social distancing rules remain in place. Businesses such as bars, gyms, clubs, and spas are still closed. Restrictions on movement between 22:00 and 04:00 (local time) are also in place, with the exception of the transporting of agricultural produce, manufactured goods, petroleum products, and other essential goods. Public employees have been advised to remain at home unless they are providing essential services.
As of June 17, health authorities have confirmed 17,148 COVID-19 cases and 455 associated deaths in Nigeria. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
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). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
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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