Unanswered questions as Nigeria braces for coronavirus lockdown

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Nigerians are bracing for a partial lockdown from Thursday as authorities attempt to comprise the unfold of coronavirus circumstances within the nation of about 200 million individuals.

Markets, non secular centres, faculties, places of work and leisure spots have already been shut in some states since final week. 

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“We are determined to be more aggressive in enforcing the measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus,” data minister Lai Mohammed mentioned within the capital Abuja on Thursday.

“Time is running out. We have a short window within which to stop this pandemic or face an explosion in terms of the cases. We cannot afford to be complacent.”

The nation has 51 confirmed circumstances of coronavirus and has recorded one demise.

On Tuesday, Lagos, the nation’s industrial capital with an estimated inhabitants of 20 million, suggested residents to remain at home and solely permitted retailers promoting important objects like groceries, drugs and life-saving merchandise to stay open.

“I urge that all travel to and from Lagos, whether by air or by road, be avoided at this time,” Lagos governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu mentioned on Tuesday.

Many residents resorted to panic shopping for on Wednesday as they rushed to replenish on meals and different necessities within the face of Thursday morning deadline.

In Abuja the federal government has applied an analogous directive that can come into impact on Thursday.

“I am happy with the directive by government. It enables me to spend time with my family and avoid contact with people who visit my office,” mentioned a employee in Abuja who didn’t need to be named.

“I work at the front desk and I have to attend to a lot of people daily. I was already worried at the level of exposure to suspected cases of coronavirus.”

Nyesom Wike, governor of the nation’s oil capital, Rivers State, mentioned he would shut the state’s borders to individuals crossing from Thursday night. The state’s capital, Port Harcourt, is home to the places of work of some oil majors comparable to Nigeria LNG and Royal Dutch Shell.

Some high authorities officers, together with the chief of workers to President Muhammadu Buhari, and a state governor have examined optimistic for coronavirus, in response to native newspaper The Cable.

Some authorities officers have taken to social media to disclose they’re in self-isolation after coming involved with confirmed circumstances.

A member of the Nigerian army performs a temperature check on a visitor at the entrance of the Nigerian Army Hospital in the Yaba area of Lagos, Nigeria, on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. Nigerian health authA member of the Nigerian military performs a temperature test on a customer on the entrance of the Nigerian Army Hospital in Lagos [George Osodi/Bloomberg]

Military deployment?

The Nigerian military is reportedly getting ready to deploy for a coronavirus lockdown, in response to sources near the army.

Reuters information company reported that the troopers are anticipated to forcibly switch the sick to hospitals throughout the nation and implement curbs on motion to attempt.

According to a military memo seen by Reuters, the army additionally plans to guard authorities meals storage from looters.

The Nigerian military has not confirmed the plans.

With hundreds of thousands requested to remain at home, considerations have been raised about fiscal stimulus to cushion the results on the casual sector which constitutes a bulk of the nation’s inhabitants.

Michael Babajide runs a enterprise centre in Abuja and has three workers working for him.

“I earn daily income. Closing my shop is going to affect me greatly. I know it’s for my health and the health of others but how do I pay my bills? I have workers’ salary to pay too,” he mentioned. “If this thing lasts for much longer and we can’t open our shop, I may be forced to sack my workers. I won’t be able to pay them with no work to generate money,” he advised Al Jazeera.

The authorities is but to announce measures in place to deal with the considerations of personal companies.

“The group under the poverty line, those that live by the day, how do you tell them to stay at home without providing for them? The government needs to intervene,” Abuja resident Rita Egbujovbo advised Al Jazeera.