Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Nigeria extend closure of airports through at least May 7 due to COVID-19. Further restrictions likely.

This alert affects Nigeria

This alert began 21 Apr 2020 21:27 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel and movement restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 7
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Nigeria have announced plans to extend the closure of the country's airports for a period of two weeks through May 7 as part of their efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Authorities initially closed the airports for a period of a month from March 23. A lockdown remains in place in the states of Lagos and Ogun, as well as the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, through April 27. Residents are required to stay at home and are only allowed to leave their homes to perform essential tasks, such as obtaining medical assistance or buying groceries. Nonessential businesses will also close as part of the lockdown orders; however, grocery stores will be open 1000-1600 daily. Similar restrictions, including stay-at-home orders, have been undertaken across Nigeria's other states by local governors.

Other measures in Nigeria include:

  • The suspension of commercial and private passenger flights. Emergency, cargo, and humanitarian flights are exempt.
  • The temporary suspension of migrant and passport registration through April 23.
  • A ban on public gatherings of more than 25 people.
  • The closure of all land borders to passenger traffic through April 23; this measure will likely be extended.
  • State-level lockdown measures limit nonessential travel, with night curfews in effect in many states. Security forces have deployed to ensure compliance with the stay-at-home orders.



Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Consider delaying traveling to Nigeria until officials lift restrictions. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
World Health Organisation (WHO): www.who.int

Nigeria Centre for Disease Control: www.ncdc.gov.ng

COVID-19 Regulations: www.covid19.ncdc.gov.ng