At the local level, some federal states have enacted tighten measures to avoid the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease. Those measures, expected to be effective from Friday, March 20, include:
- In the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja, all schools will be closed from Friday until further notice.
- In Lagos state, authorities issued a ban on all religious gatherings of more than 50 people until further notice.
- In Ogun state, authorities closed all schools, along with crowded public worship centers, until further notice.
- In Ondo state, authorities ordered the closure of all schools until further notice.
- In Katsina, Kaduna, and Kwara states, schools will be closed from Monday, March 23, for a period of 60 days.
- In Benue state, schools will close from Friday, March 27, until further notice.
Other states in the federation may implement similar measures in the coming days.
Nigeria's interior minister announced on Wednesday, March 18, that travelers arriving from countries with more than 1000 coronavirus (COVID-19) cases will be prohibited from entering the country from Friday, March 20. The countries on the list include the US, China, the UK, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Authorities also said that they will suspend issuing visas on arrival to any travelers from the affected countries. The ban will be reviewed after four weeks and may be extended or expanded depending on the situation.
Other containment measures are also in place as of March 20. Nigerian citizens are being advised to avoid traveling to countries affected by the entry ban. Citizens arriving from those countries will be required to self-isolate for 14 days and will be monitored by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). Government officials have been prohibited from traveling outside of the country until further notice. Major national sporting events have also been suspended and the government is advising against public gatherings as a precaution.
As of March 20, eight cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the country. Further international spread of the virus is expected over 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 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 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.