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Covid-19: Lagos, Abuja, Ogun residents fear price hikes as lockdown begins tonight


Covid-19: Lagos records 39 new cases as economy re-opens

Nigeria has announced a sweeping quarantine for three major states that are home to almost 30 million people, in a bid to slow the spread of the new coronavirus in Africa’s most populous country.

The lockdown in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun will kick in at 11pm local time (22:00 GMT) on Monday and will stay in place for at least two weeks, President Muhammadu Buhari announced on Sunday, a little over a month after Nigeria confirmed its first case.

“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,” Buhari said in an address to the nation.

Home to an estimated 20 million people, Lagos is Africa’s most populous city and Nigeria’s financial hub. Abuja is the capital of the country and the seat of its government. Oil-rich Rivers state and Kaduna state in the north had earlier imposed similar lockdown measures.

The restrictions announced on Sunday do not apply to hospitals and stores selling essential items such as groceries and medicine.

“We will use this containment period to identify, trace and isolate all individuals that have come into contact with confirmed cases,” Buhari said.

Fear of price rises

The announcement triggered panic among many in Lagos, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in the country which has so far infected 111 people and caused one death.

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On Monday, residents in Lagos flooded markets and stores to buy food and other items.

Bose Odumosu, a mother of five, told Al Jazeera that she will use the next hours to stock up on food for her family.

“I was expecting the government to give us a few days to sort out our domestic needs before the announcement. I feel the sudden restriction will cause the price of commodities to increase,” Odumosu said.

Buhari said all branches of government have been mobilised “to confront what has now become both a health emergency and an economic crisis”, but the lockdown means additional financial pain for millions of informal labourers who rely heavily on their daily earnings to survive.

Olatunji Akintan, a bricklayer, and his wife, a petty trader, live in a two-room apartment with their two sons in Ojodu, a suburb of Lagos. Every day, Akintan commutes to different locations in the megacity in search of a job and only gets paid when he is hired by building contractors for the day.

Now, the 56-year-old faces a two-week home quarantine without any income.

“Since January, I have not done much work so I have no savings. I have been thinking of what to do with the little money I have for two weeks,” Akintan told Al Jazeera.

“How do I raise money now that I won’t be working for the next few days? Some of us will be forced to buy food on credit if we can find those willing to sell.”

In his speech, Buhari announced a series of measures aimed at relieving some of the economic pain including a three-month moratorium on government loan repayments.

“For the most vulnerable in our society, I have directed that the conditional cash transfers for the next two months be paid immediately. Our Internally displaced persons will also receive two months of food rations in the coming weeks,” Buhari said.

Financial analyst Oluwatosin Olaseinde said:

“The biggest palliative obviously would be food.”

“The president announced a few exemptions in terms of movement for agricultural produce, which should help cushion the effect,” Olaseinde told Al Jazeera, citing exemptions related to food processing and distribution.

“Ideally, I would love to see some financial assistance to groups captured in initiatives like the Trader Money Scheme,” she said, referring to a government project involving the distribution of loans to small traders to support their businesses.

Across the world, the outbreak of the new coronavirus has strained healthcare systems and hit economies hard, with few countries expected to emerge unscathed by the pandemic’s financial effect.

Nigeria is already feeling the pinch with oil prices plunging. The country is the world’s eighth-largest oil exporter, and almost 90 percent of its export earnings are tied to oil.

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Shutting down the country’s financial capital, Lagos, is expected to further add to an impending economic crisis.

“There will be a slowdown in the country’s GDP for the first quarter of the year,” Olaseinde said. “You have five key states in the country essentially grounded. That will lead to a loss of revenue for companies and individuals. You could also see supply shocks.”

Meanwhile, electricity remains a major challenge in the country. Most people rely on costly diesel-powered generators to power their homes and keep businesses afloat.

“How do I sustain my job on generators for 14 days if we continue to experience chronic power shortages? That’s almost impossible,” IT system analyst Samuel Edeh told Al Jazeera.

“I hope they have factored steady power supply into the lockdown plan so that some of us can keep up with work at home,” he told Al Jazeera.

Families are also hoping for regular power supply during the period of quarantine.

“With regular electricity, I can store my food and also keep my children entertained during the lockdown,” Odumosu said.

Al Jazeera

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Nigeria Update

COVID-19: Anambra to fine face masks defaulters N10,000



The Anambra State Government will fine any resident who fails to wear a face mask the sum of N10,000.

This was disclosed by Governor Willie Obiano in a state-wide broadcast to the people of the state.

Obiano also warned traders in the state to keep to the COVID -19 rules or he would shut down the market again.

He said,

“We have 69 individuals on home quarantine and two individuals in the facility based quarantine.

“We shall continue to push back at this pandemic until we have reduced its presence in Anambra State.

“We are ramping up our testing capacity to ensure that we slow down the spread of this pandemic in our dear state.

“The Covid-19 Committees that we have set up in wards and local governments across Anambra State are helping us in driving the campaign to every nook and cranny of the state.

He said he had signed the COVID-19 Bill into law, adding that it was now an offence to be seen in the public without a face mask.

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“The offence attracts a fine of N10,000 or some hours of community service. I would like to re-emphasize that my administration is determined to enforce this law, adding

“The information we received from different quarters indicate that our people have started lowering their guard on the COVID-19 protocols.

“I have it on good authority that traders in various markets no longer comply with the enforcement of the wearing of face masks and the washing of hands.

” I want to warn that we may consider shutting down the markets if this trend is not halted with immediate effect.

“I have also received similar reports from churches and other religious groups in the state most of whom have discarded the wearing of face masks.

” I urge the leadership of all religious bodies in Anambra State to ensure compliance with the standard protocols of COVID-19 without further delay.”

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Covid-19: Brazil records largest daily increase in deaths



Covid-19: Brazil records largest daily increase in deaths

Brazil, on Tuesday, recorded its largest daily increase in deaths related to the novel coronavirus, data by the country’s Health Ministry showed.

The country confirmed 1,262 new virus-related deaths, bringing the total toll to 31,199, according to the latest official figures.

Tuesday’s daily jump was the steepest since the first victim was confirmed on March 17, the data showed, surpassing the record set on May 21 of 1,188 deaths in a day.

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The ministry also reported almost 29,000 new infections for a total of 555,383 cases.

After the United States, Brazil is the country with the highest number of officially recorded infections worldwide.

Brazil’s death toll is in fourth place globally, behind the U.S., Britain and Italy, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University in the U.S.

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Seeing as the biggest nation in Latin America is carrying out relatively low levels of testing, the real figure is likely significantly higher.

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There have been at least 29,314 coronavirus deaths so far in the country.

In many cities in Brazil, hospitals have reached capacity.

Authorities have set up makeshift clinics in football stadiums.

Meanwhile, a dispute between President Jair Bolsonaro, several governors and congress has paralysed the country.

Right-wing populist leader, Bolsonaro, sees the COVID-19 lung disease as a “mild flu” and has rejected protective measures.

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But many state leaders have put in place their own restrictions on movement and public life to stem the spread of the virus.

On Sunday, clashes were reported between Bolsonaro supporters, anti-government protesters and the Police in several Brazilian cities.








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COVID-19: Bauchi deputy governor tests positive



COVID-19: Bauchi deputy governor tests positive

The Deputy Governor of Bauchi state, Mr Baba Tela, has tested positive to the novel Coronavirus, a statement issued by the state government revealed on Wednesday.

The statement, signed by  Mr Muktar Gidado, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on media to the state governor, indicated that test by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed the development.

According to Gidado, Tela, who is also the Chairman, State Task Force Committee on COVID-19, was tested after exhibiting noticeable symptoms of the virus, adding that all his primary contacts had been taken for screening.

“This is to inform the general public that His Excellency, Sen. Baba Tela, Deputy Governor of Bauchi State, was confirmed positive of Coronavirus.

“The confirmation was sequel to a test carried out on him by NCDC when he exhibited noticeable symptoms of the disease.

“He contracted the disease while discharging his onerous responsibility as Chairman of the State Committee on COVID-19.

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“Consequently, he has gone into self-isolation in Bauchi and health professionals are properly managing his situation.

“Similarly, samples of all his primary contacts have been taken by NCDC for tests and they are advised to remain in isolation pending the outcome of their results,” Gidado said.

The SSA further stressed that Gov. Bala Mohammad had sympathised with his deputy and solicited for prayers from all for his speedy recovery.

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He said that the governor also called on the citizens to adhere strictly to the protocols against the dreaded virus to curtail its spread in the State.

Newsmen report that Bauchi state, as at Tuesday, June 2, had recorded a total 241 cases of COVID-19, out of which 221 had been discharged while eight had died.

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