Rauf Aregbesola, minister of interior, has cautioned Nigerians to reduce the culture of handshakes and hugs except with family members to avoid the coronavirus.

The minister spoke on Wednesday during the ceremony of a 3000-capacity maximum security custodial centre in Karshi, Abuja.

In February, Nigeria had recorded its first and second cases of the coronavirus after an infected Italian citizen visited the country from Milan.

At the ceremony, Aregbesola charged Nigerians to maintain social distance, staying three-feet away from one another and avoiding crowded places.

He also advised people to greet by bowing and touching their chests. The minister warned that the outbreak has become a global emergency such that hands must be on deck to protect the country.

”Don’t shake hands again; don’t hug for now except your family members. Maintain three-foot distance between you and the next person,” Aregbeshola said.

“We must be cautious of coronavirus and work towards preventing it. We owe it to ourselves, our family, and the community to be very vigilant.”

Since its outbreak in China in December, the virus has killed about 5,000 persons, with at least 134,000 infected.

“In the past two weeks, the number of cases of COVID19 outside China has increased 13-fold & the number of affected countries has tripled,” said the World Health Organization (WHO).

“There are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, & 4,291 people have lost their lives,” he said. Thousands more are fighting for their lives in hospitals.

“In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of COVID19 cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher.”



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