Nigeria delays second phase of easing lockdown

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Nigeria’s government has said it is still risky to further relax restrictions imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The head of the country’s task force on the pandemic, Boss Mustapha, told a daily media briefing that the country is not yet ready for the full re-opening of the economy.

He said any further relaxation of the restrictions would only portend “grave danger” to citizens and that the “tough” decision has been made is in the interest of the “majority” of citizens.

The first phase of the gradual easing of the lockdown in the capital, Abuja, as well as the commercial hub Lagos and Ogun state ended on Monday and the second phase was scheduled to begin after assessment.

Officials say the initial loosening of restrictions will be maintained for another two weeks.

This means airports, land borders, schools, parks and places of worship will remain closed. Large gatherings and interstate travels remain banned. A nationwide curfew from 20:00 to 06:00 local time still remains in force.

The total lockdown imposed on Kano state two weeks ago following reports of unexplained deaths also remains in place.

But government offices, banks and markets will continue to operate for limited hours.

The country has confirmed 6,175 coronavirus cases and 191 deaths.