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Last Updated on March 19, 2020

Amidst Coronavirus Panic, Nigerian Doctors Embark on Strike

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As different countries across the world pull their resources to combat the coronavirus crisis, doctors in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on Tuesday announced they were proceeding on an indefinite strike.

The Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Abuja chapter, announced their decision about an hour after the third case of the coronavirus was confirmed in Lagos commercial capital.

The doctors said they deliberated extensively on the health threat posed by the coronavirus scare, their work conditions, and patient care before arriving at the decision.

In a statement signed by its president, Roland Aigbovo, the association said the mass action followed the failure of the FCT administration to pay them their basic salaries for more than two months.

Mr Aigbovo also said their members have been thrown into financial distress due to the delay in payment of their salaries and despite repeated warnings and ultimatum, nothing has been done by authorities.

He said there has been salary irregularities and shortfalls since the migration to the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System by the FCTA.

The union leader said other health workers who are also affected by the salary shortfalls will join the mass action within 48 hours if their demands which are the same with that of the ARD are not met.

More Cases of Coronavirus in Nigeria

The strike embarked on by the Association of Resident Doctors comes shortly after the Lagos State Ministry of Health on Tuesday confirmed the third case of coronavirus in Nigeria.

Akin Abayomi, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, broke the news to journalists at the government secretariat Tuesday morning.

“This is a new case independent of the index case of a 30-year-old Nigerian, female, who returned from the UK on 13th March,” the commissioner said.

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Mr Abayomi said the patient, who initially showed symptoms of the infection, observed self-Isolation, and thereafter tested positive. Although Nigeria has so far recorded three cases of the virus, only two are active. The second case, linked to the index case, later tested negative.

On Wednesday evening, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health announced five new cases of coronavirus in the state. This development spiked panic amongst Nigerians as many took to panic buying.

Restrictions in Place

In response to the new cases of the coronavirus, the Federal Government of Nigeria is restricting entry into the country for travellers from 13 countries including the US and UK.

The restriction will apply to travellers from countries with more than 1,000 cases. They include China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, the United States, Norway, UK, Netherlands and Switzerland.

The Federal Government of Nigeria has also suspended the issuance of visa on arrival to travellers from these countries. All travellers returning from these countries prior to the restriction will be in supervised self-isolation, monitored by the NCDC and Port Health Services.

The restriction will take effect starting on March 20 and will be in place until further notice.

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