Nigeria from Friday will ban entry to arrivals from 13 of the countries worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic, its Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said. All countries on the list have more than 1,000 cases, and include the United States, Britain, Germany, China, Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan, it said in a Twitter post on Wednesday.
"We urge the public to restrict all non-essential travel to these countries," it said, adding that the government was temporarily suspending the issuance of all visas on arrival.
Nigeria till now has recorded eight confirmed coronavirus cases, Health Ministry officials said on Wednesday.
Several governments in Africa, where the virus present in at least 26 countries but has spread more slowly than in Europe and Asia, have closed borders, cancelled flights and imposed strict entry and quarantine requirements.
The NCDC said the entry ban would operate for an initial period of four weeks, and that anyone arriving in Nigeria who had visited any of the 13 countries in recent days would be subject to supervised self-isolation and testing for 14 days.
According to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force PTF COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, who made the announcement on Wednesday morning, in Abuja, the restrictions comes into effect from Saturday, March 21, 2020, and is expected to last for four weeks. He also revealed that the federal government was temporarily suspending the issuance of all visas on arrival.
Health officials also announced an additional five cases of the virus in the country, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to eight. One of them is a recovered patient who came in contact with the index case to Nigeria, an Italian man on a business trip to the country, authorities said.
In an earlier statement on Tuesday, the NCDC said a 30-year-old woman, who came into the country after a short visit to the UK tested positive to coronavirus after she developed symptoms including coughing and a fever on her return.
She had self-isolated in her home when she arrived in the country on March 13 and called the agency when she developed symptoms, the NCDC said, adding that it had begun tracing those who had come in contact with her.
The Presidential Task Force hard earlier at the end of its first meeting announced the ban on all forms of travels by public officers and civil servants until further notice.