Nigeria lifts Covid restrictions, midnight curfew

Nigeria lifts Covid restrictions, midnight curfew

Nigeria's government has lifted a nationwide midnight curfew and limitations on gatherings along with other restrictions imposed more than two years ago to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari

The country has recorded 3,142 deaths from 255,468 cases since the start of the pandemic though the figures for Africa's most populous nation are considered to be underestimated due to a lack of testing.

The removal of restrictions was decided "in view of the declining number of cases, reduced risk of importation of new variants as well as the availability of vaccines" according to an official document issued by the country's Presidential Steering Committee on Covid-19.

"The nationwide curfew imposed from midnight to 04:00 am has been lifted," it read, and an "advisory limiting Nigerians to essential travels only, has been lifted," said the document signed on April 2 and sent to AFP on Wednesday.

The midnight curfew was enforced when it was first introduced, but in the capital Abuja and the main commercial city of Lagos it was mostly ignored since the beginning of last year. 

Citizens are still "encouraged to refrain from non-essential movement" and the use of face masks remain "mandatory for indoor activities."

The government said private companies should continue implementing measures to limit the spread of the virus at work.

Civil servants should go back to their offices, the government added, where they are recommended to show proof of vaccination or a "PCR test of not more than 48hrs".

Almost 20 million Nigerians have received at least one vaccine dose, but just 6.3 percent of the total population was fully vaccinated as of April 5, 2022, according to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.

Schools must also "ensure that all staff and students above the age of 18 are fully vaccinated," it added, without giving further details on implementation. 

Restrictions on the number of people attending churches or mosques in the highly religious country have also been lifted as well as gatherings in open spaces, while bars, night clubs, pubs and event centres are only allowed to open at 50 percent capacity.


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