Coronavirus: Niger suspends lockdown for Muslims' Juma'at prayers [ARTICLE]

Shortly after the state recorded its index case, Governor Sani Bello had declared a total lockdown of the state for two weeks on Monday April 13 to contain the spread of coronavirus.

All religious gatherings in churches and mosques were suspended till further notice by the governor.

However, the government has now relaxed the lockdown for Friday prayers, according to a statement signed by Lawal Tanko, information secretary to the Secretary to the Government of Niger State and Chairman, Niger State Task Force on COVID-19.

“The Juma’at prayer is expected to hold between 11 am to 3 pm under strict observance of all the precautionary measures, using hand sanitisers, face masks, hand washing facilities (soap, and water), maintaining social distancing and avoiding contact base greetings.

“The sermon and prayers are to be conducted within thirty minutes; Muslims are advised to adhere strictly to the precautionary measures taken by government on the containment of coronavirus pandemic in the state,” the statement read.

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The lockdown will continue immediately after the Juma’at prayers, according to Tanko.

The lockdown relaxation is coming just days after the state recorded its second coronavirus case.

Nigeria has recorded a total of 442 cases in 19 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

152 people have recovered after medical care, but 13 people have died, as of April 16.

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