Nigeria declares lockdown of main cities to curb coronavirus

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Nigeria carried out a sweeping quarantine for 3 main states which are home to almost 30 million folks in a bid to gradual the unfold of the new coronavirus in Africa’s most populous nation.

The lockdown in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun kicks in at 11pm native time (22:00 GMT) on Monday and can keep in place for no less than two weeks, President Muhammadu Buhari introduced on Sunday, somewhat over a month after Nigeria confirmed its first case.

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“All citizens in these areas are to stay in their homes. Travel to or from other states should be postponed. All businesses and offices within these locations should be fully closed during this period,” Buhari stated in an deal with to the nation.

Home to an estimated 20 million folks, Lagos is Africa’s most populous metropolis and Nigeria’s monetary hub. Abuja is the capital of the nation and the seat of its authorities. Oil-rich Rivers state and Kaduna state within the north earlier imposed comparable lockdown measures. 

The restrictions introduced don’t apply to hospitals and shops promoting important objects resembling groceries and drugs.

“We will use this containment period to identify, trace and isolate all individuals that have come into contact with confirmed cases,” Buhari stated.

Fear of worth rises

The announcement triggered panic amongst many in Lagos, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak within the nation which has to date contaminated 111 folks and triggered one loss of life.

On Monday, residents in Lagos flooded markets and shops to purchase meals and different objects.

Bose Odumosu, a mom of 5, informed Al Jazeera that she’s going to use the subsequent hours to replenish on meals for her household.

“I was expecting the government to give us a few days to sort out our domestic needs before the announcement. I feel the sudden restriction will cause the price of commodities to increase,” Odumosu stated.

Shop assistants wearing face masks to prevent against the spread of the new coronavirus take stock in a supermarket in Lagos, Nigeria Friday, March 27, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderat

Shop assistants carrying face masks to forestall towards the unfold of coronavirus take inventory in a grocery store in Lagos [Sunday Alamba/AP]

Buhari stated all branches of presidency have been mobilised “to confront what has now become both a health emergency and an economic crisis”, however the lockdown means further monetary ache for hundreds of thousands of casual labourers who rely closely on their each day earnings to outlive.

Olatunji Akintan, a bricklayer, and his spouse, a petty dealer, dwell in a two-room residence with their two sons in Ojodu, a suburb of Lagos. Every day, Akintan commutes to completely different places within the megacity searching for a job and solely will get paid when he’s employed by constructing contractors for the day.

Now, the 56-year-old faces a two-week home quarantine with none earnings.

“Since January, I have not done much work so I have no savings. I have been thinking of what to do with the little money I have for two weeks,” Akintan informed Al Jazeera.

“How do I raise money now that I won’t be working for the next few days? Some of us will be forced to buy food on credit if we can find those willing to sell.”

In his speech, Buhari introduced a sequence of measures aimed toward relieving a number of the financial ache together with a three-month moratorium on authorities mortgage repayments.

“For the most vulnerable in our society, I have directed that the conditional cash transfers for the next two months be paid immediately. Our Internally displaced persons will also receive two months of food rations in the coming weeks,” Buhari stated.

Financial analyst Oluwatosin Olaseinde stated: “The biggest palliative obviously would be food.”

“The president announced a few exemptions in terms of movement for agricultural produce, which should help cushion the effect,” Olaseinde informed Al Jazeera, citing exemptions associated to meals processing and distribution.

“Ideally, I would love to see some financial assistance to groups captured in initiatives like the Trader Money Scheme,” she stated, referring to a authorities undertaking involving the distribution of loans to small merchants to assist their companies.

Women sell face masks and gloves, to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, to passengers at a public minibus station in Lagos, Nigeria Friday, March 27, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or m

Women promote face masks and gloves, to forestall the unfold of the brand new coronavirus, to passengers at a public minibus station in Lagos [Sunday Alamba/AP]

Across the world, the outbreak of the brand new coronavirus has strained healthcare techniques and hit economies arduous, with few nations anticipated to emerge unscathed by the pandemic’s monetary impact.

Nigeria is already feeling the pinch with oil costs plunging. The nation is the world’s eighth-largest oil exporter, and almost 90 % of its export earnings are tied to grease.

Shutting down the nation’s monetary capital, Lagos, is predicted to additional add to an impending financial disaster.

“There will be a slowdown in the country’s GDP for the first quarter of the year,” Olaseinde stated. “You have five key states in the country essentially grounded. That will lead to a loss of revenue for companies and individuals. You could also see supply shocks.”

Meanwhile, electrical energy stays a significant problem within the nation. Most folks depend on expensive diesel-powered mills to energy their properties and preserve companies afloat.

“How do I sustain my job on generators for 14 days if we continue to experience chronic power shortages? That’s almost impossible,” IT system analyst Samuel Edeh informed Al Jazeera.

“I hope they have factored steady power supply into the lockdown plan so that some of us can keep up with work at home,” he informed Al Jazeera.

Families are additionally hoping for normal energy provide in the course of the interval of quarantine.

“With regular electricity, I can store my food and also keep my children entertained during the lockdown,” Odumosu stated.