LAGOS, NIGERIA (AFP) - The authorities in Nigeria's largest city of Lagos have made the wearing of masks mandatory in a bid to halt the coronavirus, a spokesman said on Sunday (April 26).
"Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced on Saturday that wearing of face masks in public was now compulsory in the state," his spokesman Gboyega Akosile told AFP.
He said the measure was aimed at halting the spread of the virus in the megacity of over 20 million people.
The disease has so far infected 1,182 and killed 35 in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation of 200 million inhabitants.
Of this figure, Lagos accounted for 689 infections and 19 deaths.
Mr Sanwo-Olu was quoted as saying that the state was firmly in the community transmission phase of the pandemic, prompting the need for more precautions.
He said failure by people in Lagos to use face masks in public places would attract sanctions.
"Let me now formally announce that face masks are now compulsory in public places in Lagos state. Failure to use masks in public will invite sanctions and penalties," the governor was quoted as saying.
"We have commenced arrangements for the production of large quantities of face masks for the use of the people of Lagos state. This is indeed a great opportunity for many businesses, small and large, in the state, to contribute to the Covid-19 response while also getting a chance to do business and earn money," he added.
Lagos, nearby Ogun state and Abuja, the nation's capital, have been on lockdown since March 30 as part of measures imposed by President Muhammadu Buhari to stop the spread of the disease.
A decision to either lift or extend the lockdown which is due to expire on Monday was expected from Mr Buhari shortly.