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COVID-19:  A Look At Institutions On Shutdown

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Zainab Sanni

Many countries have been in various degrees of lockdown to curtail the spread of the coronavirus disease.

Nigeria is not left out as both Federal and State Governments have given directives for the shutdown of institutions considered to be high-risk places that can impede efforts to curb the pandemic.

World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the coronavirus disease a pandemic on 13th March 2020 after 118,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 4,000 deaths, in 114 countries around the world. The last pandemic reported in the world was the H1N1 flu in 2009, which killed hundreds of thousands globally.

Thousands of events have been canceled, schools, restaurants, bars, and clubs have been closed, and transit systems are at a standstill. Institutions that have been affected since the index case was discovered in Nigeria include:

Schools

The Federal Ministry of Education had on Thursday, 19th March, ordered the immediate closure of tertiary institutions, secondary and primary schools nationwide.

The day before then, a statement signed by the Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo, announced the closure of all public and private schools in the state. Adefisayo said the move was to prevent children and their teachers from becoming more vulnerable to the pandemic. The order was expanded on Sunday, 22nd March to include tertiary institutions as announced during a live broadcast by Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Lagos State Governor.

Other states like Ogun, Abeokuta, Kwara and nine north-western states have all ordered the closure of public and private schools.

Religious Gatherings

The announcement of the ban on religious gatherings came on Friday 20th March, after the seventh case was recorded in Lagos. The Lagos State Government restricted all religious gatherings to 20 people.

It had initially allowed for the gathering of 50 people according to a statement by the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Olanrewaju Elegushi on the 18th March . The review to the maximum of 20 per gathering came after the discovery of more cases.

Social Gatherings

Social gatherings have also been limited to 20 persons with an outright shutdown on bars and restaurants in a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu made this announcement on Friday 20th of March, 2020 during a press briefing in Lagos. This order was made alongside the ban on religious gatherings with the same rules applying.

Aviation

The Federal government closed all international airports in the country effective Monday 23rd March. This followed the confirmation of 30 cases in the country. It had earlier closed only three airports; the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, and the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, but on Sunday added the Murtala Muhammed international Airport, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja to the list.

Civil Service

Sanwo-Olu on Sunday March 22nd, ordered junior and mid-level civil servants to commence a two week- work from home routine.

This affected Grade Level 1-12 civil servants and went into effect, Monday 23rd of March, 2020. Those exempted were health practitioners, fire station staff and other emergency workers.

Earlier on Monday, Kaduna and Zamfara joined the list of Nigerian states going on lockdown. Governor Nasir El-Rufai ordered Kaduna civil servants below Level 12 to stay at home during his state broadcast on Monday while Governor Bello Muhammad Matawalle reportedly shut down all government ministries and agencies across Zamfara on Monday.

Rail Services

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) during the weekend announced the termination of all train services across the country from Monday 23 March 2020, in order to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country.

National Youth Service Corps

Also affected are the National Youth Service Corps Orientation Camps which were on Wednesday 18th March shut down by the Federal Government.

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