COVID-19: Panic, tension as Coronavirus spreads across Nigeria, churches, schools, public institutions shut down


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Nigeria is gradually shutting down public institutions as Coronavirus disease, otherwise known as COVID-19 continues to spread across different States in the country.

Although, some states have claimed that there are no identified cases of the virus, experts believe that Nigeria lacks the sophistication and the know-how to track the disease, even as there are fears that continuous spreading could result in many deaths due to poor medical facilities.

Consequently, some States have been forced to close down both public and privates schools, including churches and public gathering.

The government of Ogun State took the hard decision of shutting down public, private schools and crowded public worship centers to stop further spread of the virus.

The Governor, Dapo Abiodun-led government banned all high-density gatherings in the State starting from today, Friday, March 20.

The ban on high-density gatherings affects all schools, whether public or private, as well as all religious activities in the State.

Consequently, the government said “all schools in the state will remain closed indefinitely after school hours on Friday, March, 20th, 2020.”

It added that, “all religious centres and activities including regular and special services that bring together 50 or more persons in the same place are banned with immediate effect.”

The Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, as a way of prevention, on Thursday also ordered the immediate closure of schools across the state.

According to the governor who gave the directive on Thursday evening during a statewide broadcast, all primary and secondary schools as well tertiary institutions in the state should be closed as from today, Friday, March 20, 2020.

Also, the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led Lagos State government has shut down all large gatherings. The government swung into action after four new cases of COVID-19 were discovered on Wednesday.

The State government announced a ban on all religious gatherings involving over 50 worshippers.

The Government took the decision in agreement with religious leaders in the State.

States in the Northwest zone of the country had also resolved to close down schools in their states for 30 days.

In a communiqué read by the Chairman of the Forum and Katsina State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari, after a closed-door meeting with security chiefs in Kaduna, to review security strategies and fight against banditry, he said the decision to close down the schools became imperative, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 disease across the Northwest.

Governor Masari explained that the closure would take effect from Monday 23rd of March 2020.

In the same vein, the Benue State Government on Thursday directed that all schools in the state be closed indefinitely from March 27.

Prof. Dennis Ityavyar, Benue State Commissioner for Education said the government would not treat the pandemic with levity.

Ityavyar added that the state Ministry of Information Culture and Tourism would address the press on the issue of churches and mosques in the state soon.

“Coronavirus is a serious pandemic, we are not treating it with kid gloves.

“In order to prevent any unfortunate incident, the State Executive Council has decided to close all schools from primary to tertiary institutions.

“Those who have examinations should hurry up and complete before March 27 as students will be on holidays till further notice.

“The closure will affect both private and public schools,” Ityavyar said.

Schools in Kwara State would be closed on Monday as the government announced on Wednesday.

In Ekiti, the House of Assembly on Thursday announced the suspension of legislative activities indefinitely as part of measures to contain the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus. Other states in the federation are on the move to close down public schools, churches and stop all public activities.

The decision to restrict visitors’ movement to the Assembly’s complex by the Ekiti Assembly was also taken at the Thursday’s plenary held in Ado-Ekiti and presided over by the Speaker, Mr Funminiyi Afuye.

Though no case of the disease has been officially announced in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, yesterday shut down public and private schools.

The FCTA announced that all schools in Abuja will shut down starting from Friday, 20th March 2020 as a preventive measure taken to avoid the spread of the pandemic which has affected 27 African countries and killed over 6,500 people.

The administration warned that schools and their students should adhere to the instructions and remain at home until further notice.

Although, no case of the virus has been identified in Abuja, there are unconfirmed reports of suspected cases in some hospitals in the capital city. Analysts have blamed the FCTA administration of allegedly concealing cases.

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