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FILE PHOTO: People attend Ash Wednesday mass inside the Church of the Assumption in Ikoyi district in Lagos, Nigeria February 26, 2020. REUTERS/Nyancho NwaNri

Nigeria’s Lagos state suspends plans to reopen places of worship

16 June 2020

Nigeria’s commercial hub Lagos has suspended plans to reopen places of worship after a review of the new coronavirus outbreak, the state governor said on Tuesday.

Earlier this month Nigeria’s government said it would allow the reopening of places of worship, which the government ordered to close in March to halt the spread of the highly infectious virus. It said each state would decide the terms.

Christianity and Islam are widely practised in Lagos and the rest of Nigeria. Places of worship were due to open from June 19.

“We will not be proceeding with the opening of the places of worship,” Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu told journalists, adding the closures would be effective until further notice.

Sanwo-Olu said the decision followed a review of the outbreak in the state.

“Due to the continuous increase of #COVID19 cases in our state, we have rescinded till further notice our earlier decision to open churches and mosques for worship,” he said in a tweet.

Lagos state, whose capital city of 20 million inhabitants bears the same name, is the epicentre of the outbreak in Nigeria. The country that has recorded 16,658 confirmed cases and 424 deaths.

A month-long lockdown in Lagos was eased in early May but authorities have expressed concern that many people are not observing rules to remain 2 metres from others, wear a mask in public and not gather in groups of 20 or more.

This report was first published by the Reuters news agency.

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