The wave of the deadly COVID-19 epidemic has finally hit Abuja, Nigeria’s Capital as the Federal Ministry of Health confirmed that three individuals have been tested positive to the virus.
The Ministry, in a statement on Saturday also confirmed 7 new cases in Lagos State bringing the total number to 22 in Nigeria.
Initial reports suggested that the Abuja’s index case was an official of the Federal Inland Revenue Service who was one of the passengers on the British Airways’ flight that landed in the country on March 13, 2020.
However, the FIRS debunked the claim saying no member of its staff had been tested positive to Coronavirus.
“The attention of the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Muhammad Nami and the Management of the Service has been drawn to the fake news making the rounds on Social Media that a member of staff at the FIRS has tested positive to COVID-19.
“The Service hereby states unequivocally that no member of staff at the FIRS has tested positive to COVID-19 as being peddled on Social Media.
“The Service can confirm that a member of staff who went to pick his wife from the airport following her return from a trip abroad is currently and voluntarily observing the Federal Government advisory of self-isolation alongside his spouse at the couple’s home since Monday.
“Both husband and wife have not visited any FIRS offices or events since the wife returned to Nigeria last Sunday.
“More importantly, both husband and wife have only been in self-isolation for five days and have NOT tested positive to Covid-19.” The statement read
NRC Halts Railway Services
The impact of the COVID-19 epidemic has also forced the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to shut down all passenger train services in the country.
NRC said the shutdown was necessary so as to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Education, had already shut down academic activities in all tertiary, secondary and primary schools in the country.
Lagos, Abuja Airports not Spared
The two busiest Airports in Nigeria, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja have also been affected as the Federal Government ordered that they should be shut effective from Monday, 23rd of March 2020.
This development is coming days after the Aviation authorities ordered the shut down of Kano, Enugu and Port Harcourt International Airports.
In a statement signed by the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Capt. Musa Nuhu, the closure of Abuja and Lagos Airports would last through April 23, adding that emergency and essential flights could be operated from any of the airports within the period.
He, however, stated that domestic flight operations would continue normally in all airports in the country.
“Further to our earlier letter on the restriction of international flights into Nigeria, we wish to inform you that effective Monday, 23rd March at 2300Z to 23rd April at 2300Z, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos (DNMM) and Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja (DNAA) will be closed to all international flights.
“This is in addition to the closure of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano (DNKN); Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu (DNEN); and Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa (DNPO) effective Saturday, 21 March at 2300Z.
“Henceforth, all airports in Nigeria are closed to all incoming international flights with the exception of emergency and essential flights.
“Domestic flights will continue normal operations at all airports.” the statement read.