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


  • World
  • Wednesday, 17 Jun 2020

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

LAGOS (Reuters) - 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 places of worship, which the government ordered to close in March to halt the spread of the highly infectious virus, could reopen. It said each state would decide the terms on which its places of worship would reopen.

Christianity and Islam are widely practised in Lagos, as in 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.

"Our review indicted that we needed to suspend that attempt at opening," he said.

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.

(Reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram; Additional reporting by Angela Ukomadu; editing by David Evans)

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