Nigeria begins unlocking Africa’s biggest economy

Nigeria is beginning to relax coronavirus lockdown measures in the capital Abuja and its biggest city, Lagos, in an attempt to limit the damage to Africa’s largest economy.

The government says Monday’s reopening is the first phase of a six-week easing process. It says the situation will be assessed in the next two weeks – if things go well, the lockdown will be further relaxed.

Shops and markets will now open until mid-afternoon and it’s hoped some people will be able to return to work.

But a ban on public gatherings remains in place and a nationwide curfew from 20:00 local time (19:00GMT) to 06:00 is in force. Schools and places of worship remain closed.

Nigeria has seen a sharp rise in coronavirus infections over the past week, with 2,558 cases and 87 deaths now confirmed. Lagos state in the southwest remains the epicentre, accounting for nearly half of confirmed cases.

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