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Nigeria advises regions to limit public gatherings amid COVID-19 spike

PUBLISHED: Mon, 21 Dec 2020 21:07:48 GMT

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ABUJA, Dec 21 (Reuters) – Nigeria is advising its sub-regions to limit public gatherings, close bars and night clubs over the next five weeks amid a spike in new COVID-19 cases, a government coronavirus task force said on Monday.

Africa’s most populous nation could be on the verge of a second wave of the novel coronavirus with the number of confirmed cases rising within communities over the last few weeks.

Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, Abuja and northern state of Kaduna have emerged as new epicenters with over 70% of confirmed cases, said Boss Mustapha, chairman of the presidential task force for COVID-19, who is the country’s most senior civil servant.

The proportion of positive tests for the virus has increased since the second week of December, linking the spread to large gatherings and poor compliance with face mask, he added.

The statement advised states to limit meeting capacity of churches and mosques while pubs and event centers should be closed. The regions should enforce face mask use in public.

Nigeria, runs a federal system of government and local governments have the legal structure and enforcement to manage the pandemic within their jurisdictions, the statement said.

Lagos has ordered schools to shut indefinitely and banned concerts, carnivals and street parties and asked certain civil servants to work from home amid a spike in new COVID-19 cases.

The statement said the government was discussing restricting international travels to countries where a new strain of the coronavirus had been discovered. (Reporting by Felix Onuah Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Richard Chang)

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