March 18, 2020 / 8:37 PM / 3 months ago

Nigeria bans entry to arrivals from 13 countries to combat coronavirus

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria will from Saturday ban entry to arrivals from 13 of the countries worst affected by the coronavirus epidemic, the minister of interior said on Wednesday.

All the countries on the list, which includes the United States, Britain, Germany, China, Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan, have reported more than 1,000 coronavirus cases.

“Federal government has placed a complete travel ban on 13 countries. We have also suspended issuance of visas to citizens of these countries and have also canceled all visas earlier issued to them,” said Minister of Interior Rauf Aregbesola.

The minister, who addressed reporters in the capital Abuja after emerging from a cabinet meeting, said the ban would take effect from Saturday and “will last for four weeks subject to review”. Earlier, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control said the restrictions would come into force on Friday.

Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said on Twitter that Nigerians arriving from the 13 countries would be subject to supervised isolation for 14 days.

“Nigerians are also advised to cancel or suspend traveling to these countries,” he said in a tweet.

Nigeria 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, canceled flights and imposed strict entry and quarantine requirements.

Reporting by Felix Onuah; Additional reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram and Camillus Eboh; Editing by John Stonestreet and Catherine Evans

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