Just in: To curtail COVID-19, Buhari locks down Lagos, Ogun, FCT

President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday announced a ban on all intra and inter- state movements in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja as a way of curbing the spread of coronavirus pandemic for 14 days with effect from 11pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

While announcing the ban of movements in a national broadcast, the President said the decision was taken because majority of the 97 cases of coronavirus recorded in the country so far are from the two states.

He added that Ogun State was included because of its proximity to Lagos.

The President also said movement of all passenger aircraft, both commercial and private jets, are have been suspended, but special permits will be issued on a needs basis.

According to him, the decision to stop movements into and from the two states and FCT was based on the recommendation of Federal Ministry of Health as part of the measures to control the COVID-19 virus.

He added that the 14 days will be used to identify, trace and isolate all individuals that have come into contact with confirmed cases.

The President said, “I am directing the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11pm on Monday, 30th March 2020. This restriction will also apply to Ogun State due to its close proximity to Lagos and the high traffic between the two States.

“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.

“As I mentioned earlier, as at this morning we had ninety-seven confirmed cases. Majority of these are in Lagos and Abuja. All the confirmed cases are getting the necessary medical care.

“Our agencies are currently working hard to identify cases and people these patients have been in contact with.

“The few confirmed cases outside Lagos and Abuja are linked to persons who have travelled from these centres.

“We are therefore working to ensure such inter state and intercity movements are restricted to prevent further spread,” the President said.

The President however said the order does not apply to hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organizations in health care related manufacturing and distribution.

Also exempted are commercial establishments such as food processing, distribution and retail companies; petroleum distribution and retail entities, power generation, transmission and distribution companies; and private security companies are also exempted.

“Although these establishments are exempted, access will be restricted and monitored.

“Workers in telecommunication companies, broadcasters, print and electronic media staff who can prove they are unable to work from home are also exempted,” the President added.

He also said all seaports in Lagos shall remain operational in accordance with the guidelines I issued earlier while vehicles and drivers conveying essential cargoes from these Ports to other parts of the country will be screened thoroughly before departure by the Ports Health Authority.

But he also added that all vehicles conveying food and other essential humanitarian items into these locations from other parts of the country will also be screened thoroughly before they are allowed to enter these restricted areas. For this, the President directed  Minister of Health to redeploy all Port Health Authority employees previously stationed in the Lagos and Abuja Airports to key roads that serve as entry and exit points to the restricted zones.