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Global Shutdown over COVID-19

Across the world, several countries have defined the outbreak of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as not just an emergency but even a pandemic. The World Health organisation (WHO) pronounced COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11. Virtually every continent of the world has reported COVID-19 incidence, with Europe as the worst hit. The entirety of Spain, France, Italy and several States in the United States are on lockdown, with people told to stay indoors. Germany has closed its borders with France, Switzerland and Denmark. In the United Kingdom, millions of people have been asked to stay at home and work from home. The United States has shut down its territory on Europe. Beyond the physical impact of the disease however, is the economic dimension. Several economies around the world face a certain prospect of recession. Nigeria may only have one subsisting reported case of the virus, yet the outlook for its economy appears very grim. Its budget predicated on oil selling at $57 a barrel is already threatened, with oil prices now hovering around $32 and export numbers down as well to a current 1.8million barrels per day from 2.18million barrels per day. The $3.3billion Eurobond which the Federal Government plans to raise through external borrowing, to finance the 2020 national budget deficit may be threatened, as experts predict that the COVID-19 pandemic may shut external borrowing debt markets to borrowers.

The COVID-19 pandemic may not exactly be that in Africa where reported incidents are still low. There is worry however that were the disease to manifest as seen in Europe, it could be catastrophic for the continent. In Nigeria, concern is being expressed that the government may not be taking preventive steps to halt the spread of the virus into its territory.

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