Lagos State Government on Wednesday declared the closure of schools, churches and mosques to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus.
The closure of the worship centres is immediate while that of schools will begin from Monday.
The Commissioner for Education, Folashade Adefisayo, said in a statement that the move became necessary to prevent children and their teachers from getting more vulnerable to the pandemic.
She advised parents to ensure that their children practise “social distancing” while at home, wash their hands regularly or use hand sanitisers and observe high standards of personal hygiene.
The Commissioner said: “The closure is not intended to create panic but to arrest the spread of the disease, which has become a global threat.
“Children should be encouraged to remain at home.”
Adefisayo said the Lagos Incident Command Centre, headed by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, would continue to trace all contacts of the identified cases.
The Commissioner encouraged anyone who has information about suspected cases to report to the nearest hospital or call the emergency telephone numbers: 08023169485, 08033565529, 08052817243 and 08023401214.
Relatedly, the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Olanrewaju Elegushi, announced an immediate ban on religious gatherings of more than 50 people after a closed door meeting with religious leaders in the state on the issue of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
Elegushi said the decision was taken in the interest of Lagosians and necessary toward curbing the spread of the ravaging Coronavirus.
He said: “We met with religious leaders both Christians and Muslims.
“We discussed, argued and realised that the lives of Lagosians is important to us.
“We prefer to offend people than to kill our people.
“Let me assure you that the state government is not insensitive to the Lenten period and various religious activities going on.
“We are concerned because it is only the living that can worship God.
“Having discussed extensively, the heads of religious bodies agreed government should embark on massive education of the virus at the grass roots level.
“Health workers should up their games, while more should be recruited and hospitals should be compelled to attend to people without prejudice.
“In view of this, we have decided to suspend all religious activities above 50 people and the enforcement starts with immediate effect.”
Elegushi said a committee had been set up involving top religious leaders to ensure compliance with the directive.
Speaking after the announcement, the Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, Lagos State, Apostle Alexander Bamgbala, said the association was glad with the development.
Bamgbala said: “We are going to follow the directive of the government.
“We are at a critical moment in our nation and God has been hearing our prayers concerning Coronavirus.
“In view of the increase in number of infected cases, we must be proactive.
“It is not about religion but survival.
“We need to listen to government and be proactive so that God will continue to answer us.”