On Sunday, March 29, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced a lockdown on Abuja, Lagos, Ogun State and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to prevent further spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). All movement in the aforementioned areas will be prohibited for 14 days from 23:00 (local time) on Monday, March 30, and citizens have been ordered to stay at home. Authorities have instructed for all inter-state travel to be postponed as well. Non-essential businesses and offices within these locations will be fully closed during this period. The lockdown will not apply to hospital and medical institutions. Commercial establishments including food, petroleum, electricity, and private security companies will also be exempted from the lockdown. All seaports in Lagos will remain operational, and vehicles transporting essential cargo throughout the country will be screened thoroughly by the Ports Health Authority.
Meanwhile, all international passenger flights into Lagos' Murtala Muhammed International Airport (LOS) and Abuja's Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (ABV) remain suspended from Monday, March 23, through Thursday, April 23. Exceptions will be made for emergency and essential flights. Authorities had previously halted international flights into Enugu, Kano, and Port Harcourt.
As of Sunday, March 29, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed 111 COVID-19 cases nationwide, including one death. 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.