Lagos, Abuja airports shut as COVID-19 cases rise to 22


Railway services suspended nationwide

Lagos reduces restriction on public gatherings from 50 people to 20

As Nigeria records 22 confirmed cases of the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government has ordered the shutting down of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos; and the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja effective Monday, March 23.

The government had on Friday, March 20 restricted all international flights into Nigeria to the two airports.

However, the director general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu, said in a signed statement on Saturday that the closure of international flight operations at the Lagos and Abuja airports was in addition to the three other international airports in Kano, Enugu and Port Harcourt earlier closed to traffic earlier today.

He said the closure would last through April 23.

However, he said emergency and essential flights could be operated from any of the airports within the period.

He added that scheduled domestic services would continue in all airports in the country.

“Further to our earlier letter on the restriction of international flights into Nigeria, we wish to inform you that effective Monday, 23rd March at 2300Z to 23rd April at 2300Z, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos (DNMM) and Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja (DNAA) will be closed to all international flights.

“This is in addition to the closure of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano (DNKN); Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu (DNEN); and Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa (DNPO) effective Saturday, 21 March at 2300Z.

“Henceforth, all airports in Nigeria are closed to all incoming international flights with the exception of emergency and essential flights.

“Domestic flights will continue normal operations at all airports,” the statement read.

Similarly, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) announced the suspension of all passenger services in the country as from March 23.

The reason is in connection with the rising cases of COVID-19.

Bashir Ahmad, personal assistant on new media to the President Muhammadu Buhari who disclosed this on his verified Twitter handle wrote: “The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) plans to suspend all passenger railway services in the country, part of the measures being taken by the Federal Govt to prevent the spread of coronavirus pandemic. The suspension is set to take effect on Monday, March 23. #COVID19

    — Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) March 21, 2020

Lagos bans gathering of more than 20 persons, police to enforce compliance

Meanwhile, the Lagos State government has banned a gathering of over 20 persons in a bid to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

Announcing this in its Facebook post, the government explained that move was to further protect residents and prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

“The Lagos State Government has banned all religious or social gathering of over 20 people within the state. It is important we all adhere to this directive,” it stated.

Prior to that the state government had ordered a temporary closure of schools for one month and imposed restriction on gatherings of more than 50 persons.

Meanwhile, the state police command said it would enforce the ban on social gatherings, clubs, parties, ceremonies and religious.

Spokesman for the command, Mr. Bala Elkana said defaulters will face the wrath of the law.

“Lagos State Police Command wishes to inform the general public that the command in compliance with the guidelines and directives issued by both the federal government and Lagos State government on prevention of the spread of COVID- 19 which the World Health Organisation has declared as a pandemic, has embarked on massive enforcement of the ban order.

“To that effect, the command has deployed adequate resources across the state to ensure that the orders are fully obeyed.

“The order imposed bans on social gatherings such as, wedding ceremonies, naming ceremonies, burial ceremonies, parties, clubs and religion gatherings of people more than 50.

“Commercial vehicles carrying passengers above capacity (overloading) are also part of this order. Members of the public are encouraged to avoid overcrowding themselves at bus stops, market places, business places and scene of incidents.

“The Commissioner of Police Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, called on the good people of Lagos State to obey the safety regulations put in place for the benefit of everyone. We must be alive and healthy before socio economic activities will be effective.

“The command has rolled out its medical team to market places for awareness creation and police detention facilities to safeguard the safety of suspects.

“The commissioner of police has ordered the immediate release of suspects arrested for minor offences as part of preventive measures. Together we can prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“For information or complaints regarding COVID-19 called the following toll free number 080097000010 or text Coronavirus to 24453,” Bala said in a statement.

The federal ministry of health had on Saturday confirmed 10 new cases of COVID-19 thus bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 22.

According to a statement signed by the minister of health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, the new cases were confirmed in the Federal Capital Territory and Lagos State.

He explained that of the ten new cases, three were confirmed in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and seven in Lagos State.

“This brings the total number of confirmed cases in Nigeria to 22,” he said.

He also said all ten new cases are Nigerian nationals adding that nine of them had travel history to Canada, France, Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom.

@Fmohnigeria has confirmed 10 new cases of #COVID19 in #Nigeria

Of the 10 new cases, 3 are in the Federal Capital Territory and 7 are in Lagos

9 out of the 10 cases have travel history outside Nigeria in the last one week. The 10th case is a close contact of a confirmed case

    — NCDC (@NCDCgov) March 21, 2020

The minister said all the patients returned to the country in the past week.

However, he said the 10th case was a close contact of a previously confirmed case.

“The three cases in the FCT are being treated at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH), Gwagwalada while the 7 (seven) new cases in Lagos are being treated at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH), Yaba,” he added.

He said all 10 new cases “have mild to moderate symptoms and are currently receiving treatment,” adding that the federal government “remains committed to working with states to provide optimal care for all confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.”


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