The Nigerian Army is preparing to enforce a lockdown to forestall coronavirus spread and may have leased equipment for “possible mass burial”, according to an army memo seen by Reuters.
“Following the rise and continuous spread in cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria, the (Chief of Army Staff) has deemed it necessary for all to take protective measures to ensure the safety of (army) personnel and their families,” the memo is quoted.
The memo said the army was suspending leave passes for all personnel and called for them to be on “maximum security alert and be ready for deployment.”
There are currently 46 confirmed cases in Nigeria, and one death, but the infection has hit the top levels of society, infecting President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief of staff.
With a population of 200 million, 20 million of whom are packed into the commercial capital of Lagos, many fear the virus could spread quickly without containment.
The Rivers state government has announced that it will imposed restrictions on its land, air and sea orders effective Thursday from 6pm.
“You can fly into the Port Harcourt international airport but you will not be allowed into Rivers state by land” The state governor, Nyesom Wike said in a broadcast.
A social media user, David Chibuoso Dennis posted a video on Facebook showing travelers being screened by security operatives at one of the land borders of River state. He claims the government has started implementing coronavirus screening at one of the its land boarders at Ikwerre local government area of the state.
” You people think the Governor of Rivers State is joking, this is a serious screening ongoing In one of the land borders of River State in Ikwerre LGA. U can’t inter Rivers State without being screened. By tomorrow from 6pm all borders will be closed down.” He wrote.
The video has not been independently verified by Report Afrique.
Scientists in Nigeria have advised the federal government to order a lockdown of the country to shield coronavirus spread. The “National Academy of Science,” an advisory body to the government gave the warning in a statement by its president, Professor Mosto Onuoha.
Available In Port Harcourt and Bayelsa.