Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has ordered a shutdown of markets across the nation’s most populous city, as Nigeria’s confirmed coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Africa’s biggest economy now has 44 confirmed coronavirus cases at the time of reporting. Lagos’ current tally from that number stands at 29.

Only traders in food and medical items will be allowed to open shop.

The governor announced that all parks, gyms and public markets in the commercial capital, would close on Thursday, March 26, 2020, for at least seven days.

He said Lagos cannot afford a total lock down as some have suggested because of the economic implication, citing millions of residents who cannot afford to stock up on essential items.

“We know what our poverty line is, and I’m a very realistic leader,” he said. “We need to be considerate of that.

“Since my last address to you on Sunday, March 22, 2020, we have seen an increase in the total number of confirmed cases nationwide with Lagos leading the pack with the most number of newly confirmed cases.

Lagos state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has held a meeting with the 57 Local Government and Local Council Development chairmen to prevent the spread of Coronavirus to local communities in the state. [Twitter/@jidesanwoolu]

“Here in Lagos, we have seen a significant jump in our numbers from 19 as at the last time I addressed you on Sunday, to 28 as at today’s briefing.

“This shows that our numbers are increasing as predicted, but we are also proactively and promptly tracking, isolating and managing the suspected cases; as well as the confirmed ones at the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Yaba.

“All public parks, including those in private and residential estates, swimming pools, gyms, beauty salons, and all such public places are expected to shut down at this time, until further notice.

“All open markets and stores are directed to close, except for sellers of food and medicines, medical equipment and other essential life-saving products.

“For those that fall into the aforementioned categories, it is imperative that they observe necessary precautionary measures of social distancing.”

Sanwo-Olu said his administration would set up temporary food markets in schools.

Law enforcement agencies and other relevant Lagos State protection agencies “have been imbued with the power to deal with recalcitrant offenders.”