Nigeria closes land borders to fight coronavirus spread

ABUJA, March 23 (Reuters) - Nigeria closed its land borders on Monday to curb the spread of coronavirus as Africa’s most populous country recorded its first death from the pandemic.

Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government, said the closure would last for four weeks.

Nigeria had closed parts of its borders in August to fight smuggling of rice and other goods, but people had still been permitted to cross both ways.

“All land borders that have been hitherto under partial closure shall now be closed for human traffic for four weeks effective,” Mustapha, who heads the presidential coronavirus task force, said in a statement.

Nigeria’s two main international airports, in Lagos and Abuja, were due to close from Monday night.

Authorities registered five new cases of coronavirus, taking Nigeria’s total number to 36, as well as its first death, in a man of 67.

Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Kevin Liffey