Nigeria’s northern economic hub Kano imposes week-long lockdown over coronavirus

0
203
A woman wearing a face mask walks nearby the Central Mosque in Lagos, Nigeria, Friday, March 20, 2020. The government banned all religious activities for four weeks following confirmation of coronavirus cases in the country. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

KADUNA, Nigeria – The northern Nigeria economic powerhouse state of Kano will impose a seven-day lockdown to contain an outbreak of the new coronavirus, a spokesman for the governor said on Tuesday.

Africa’s most populous country has recorded 373 cases of the virus, which as resulted in 11 deaths.

Lockdowns and curfews have been imposed in many African countries but the restrictions are putting pressure on most economies. The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday predicted Nigeria’s GDP would fall 3.4% this year after growing 2.2% in 2019.

Nigeria’s president imposed lockdowns in the southwestern economic hub Lagos state, neighboring Ogun state and the capital, Abuja, on March 30. The lockdowns were initially intended to last 14 days but were extended by two weeks on Sunday.

Kano, whose state capital shares the same name and is the second most populous city in the West African country, has recorded four cases.

Abba Anwar, a spokesman for Kano state governor Abdullahi Ganduje, said in a statement that the lockdown would begin on Thursday at 10 p.m. (2100 GMT). It said all markets would be closed and all public gatherings would be banned.

The statement said authorities would attempt to reach people who had been in contact with those who tested positive for the new coronavirus.

“The seven days lockdown would give us space and more chances to track down those contacts,” the governor was quoted as saying.

Reporting by Garba Muhammad in Kaduna; Additional reporting by Desmond Mgboh in Kano; Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; editing by Grant McCool