The Federal Capital Territory has restricted religious and public gatherings to only 50 persons as part of precautions against the spread of coronavirus.
The measure came hours before three index cases were confirmed in the federal capital on Saturday.
The nation’s disease centre, NCDC, on its Twitter handle, confirmed 10 new cases, bringing to 22 the total number of cases in the country.
The NCDC said three out of the new cases are in the Federal Capital Territory and seven are in Lagos.
Out of these, nine have travel history outside Nigeria in the last one week.
The 10th case is a close contact of a confirmed case.
Abubakar Sani, a media aide to the FCT minister, Mohammed Bello, announced the restrictions in a statement on Saturday.
He said the directive was based on the advice of public health authorities, the Presidential Task Force for the Control of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID 19), as well as the outcome of the National Economic Council meeting, which was held on Thursday.
The official noted that the FCT administration also held a meeting with religious leaders across the Territory before taking the following decisions:
“Congregations at places of worship are hereby restricted to a maximum of 50 persons at any given time.
“This measure also applies to social gatherings at event centres, football viewing centres and night clubs, amongst others.”
According to the statement, religious leaders and worshippers are enjoined to follow all laid down health protocols as stipulated by the relevant health authorities for the control of the Coronavirus disease while intensifying prayers for the safety of all Nigerians.
Mr Sani explained that the essence of “this restriction is to make the tracking of suspected cases easier for the health authorities.”
Even though the statement did not detail how the FCT administration will enforce compliance, some churches have agreed with the directive.
Officials at the Family Worship Center (FWC) in Abuja said there would be no church service on Sunday following the directive.
Lagos, Africa’s largest city with 21 million people, had announced a similar measure a few days ago.
Now, with seven more confirmed cases, by far the most in Nigeria, the Lagos government has reduced its restrictions of public gatherings of more than 50 people to 20, particularly religious congregations.
Osun, Kaduna, Ekiti and Oyo states are among those taking similar restrictive measures.
Schools and other similar public activities across the nation have also been cancelled.
More than 10, 000 people have died of the coronavirus which began spreading in China since December.