On Monday, April 20, authorities announced that the closure of the country's airports to commercial flights, originally planned to end on Thursday, April 23, will be extended for another two weeks in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Emergency and essential flights, such as cargo transportation, will continue to operate for the duration of the ban.
On the same day, local authorities announced the implementation of a two-week lockdown in Borno State following the state's first COVID-19 related fatality, effective Wednesday, April 22. As such, all but essential movement, as well as commercial, social, and religious activities are prohibited under the measure.
Lockdowns are currently in effect in Delta, Ebonyi, Kogi, Kano, Ogun, and Lagos states, as well as in the city of Abuja. Restrictions have been introduced in a number of states including Bauchi, Ekiti, Imo, Kaduna, Kwara, Niger, Osun, and Rivers states.
Nigerian authorities deployed additional police units across Lagos and Ogun states in an effort to curb a recent surge in crimes being committed during the COVID-19 lockdown. On Thursday, April 16, reports stated that the security forces have killed at least 18 people in incidents linked to their enforcement of lockdown measures introduced on Monday, March 30.
As of Tuesday, April 21, there are 665 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 22 related deaths nationwide. Further international spread of the virus is to be 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 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.