Covid-19 City updates

10th set of listings of covid -19 reports relating to public transport from our research teams in Tunis, Abuja and Cape Town (18 July to 31 July 2020).

Click on numbers 1,2,3 at the end of the page to view all cities. 1 (Abuja), 2 (Cape Town), 3 (Tunis)

PLEASE NOTE: This document contains only provisional information for each country, based on the information that our in-country teams have been able to access.  We hope to provide updates of this information approximately at fortnightly intervals. 

Draft report Abuja 18.7.2020-31.7.2020

Current cases in Nigeria [31.7.2020]: 42,689

Current deaths in Nigeria [31.7.2020]: 878

Government initiatives

28.7.2020. Nigerians can apply for a UK travel visa, as the visa centres will reopen.

27.7.2020. The government released new guidelines regarding train travel. Passengers should wear masks and security officials will ask the train driver to disembark passengers, if they do not comply.  The mask must cover both the nose and the mouth, the minister of transportation emphasises. Apart from using the bathroom, passengers cannot freely move around the train.

The Federal Government extended the easing of the lockdown (phase two) by one week. The second phasing was supposed to give way to the third phasing by the end of July but the secretary to the government of federation announced that this was due to people breaching lockdown regulations and not respecting the guidelines. The 10pm to 4 am curfew will remain. Commercial drivers are only allowed to take passengers up to 60% capacity.

The government announced that the reopening of schools will be on the 4 August for graduating students and the 17 August for the West African Senior school certificate examination. Secondary schools will open for exist classes only.

The federal road safety commission has tasked fleet and public transport operators to adhere strictly to Nigeria Centre for Decease control protocol to slow down the spread of covid 19. The sector commander outlined that motorists have to observe all safety protocols (hand washing before and at disembarking points, use sanitisers, wear facemasks, and observe social distancing. Public transport companies should provide temperature checks, clean the surface of their vehicles with bleach and put up protective barriers between passengers and fare cashiers. 7 people should only be carried in 10-seater vehicles, 9 by 13 seater busses and two in a row inside luxury busses. Passengers should not stand.

26 July. President Buhari has approved a 100% increase in the train fares on the Kaduna to Abuja train. The hike in prices is to make sure that physical distancing measures are maintained. When being asked if this was a burden to the poor, the transport minister responded that it was better than being kidnapped on the Kaduna-Abuja road and having to pay ransom.


24.7.2020. Kojo Motors United, the owners of the Yotong busses Nigeria, have started to distribute facemasks and other safety materials to the users of their busses.

Draft report Abuja 4.7.2020-17.2020

Current cases in country 17.7.2020: 34,854

Current deaths in country 17.7.2020: 769

Government initiatives

14.7.2020 Schools are still shut, but the ministry of Education in Abuja have released guidelines regarding social distancing (2 metres) at school – whenever possible.

13.7.2020: Previously the government advised travellers to arrive at airports 3 hours before- now they have reduced it to 90 minutes. Passengers are advised to check in online.

12.7.2020: The minister of aviation has said that nationwide domestic flights can resume on the 15 July. Passengers should keep a 2-metre distance in the airport, including on the busses.


15.7.2020: The national bureau of statistics says that 24 % of households do not have enough soap and water for hand washing exposing them more to the virus. This is based on the national longitudinal phone survey.

9.7.2020. Pauline Tallen, Peter Hawkins and Comfort Lamptey publish a blog post on how women and girls e.g. in Abuja are experiencing violence and suffer in silence due to social stigma.

6.7.2020. The federal road safety corps and road transport unions have adopted resolutions towards adopting covid-19 protocols. In the statement it says that all public transport operators should sanitize their parks and terminals regularly. Notices should be placed in parks regarding safety procedures and temperature measurements should be provided. All interstate and intercity travel should be organised by registered or organised operating terminals. There should also be protective barriers at the terminals and any luggage should be disinfected.


Covid 19 Report Nigeria 23 June to 3 July 2020:

Current cases (3.7.2020): 27.110

Current deaths (3.7.2020): 616

Government initiatives

2 July: The Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki announced in a statement on the 2 July that transporters flouting interstate travel protocols could have their permits withdrawn.

1 July:  The Nigerian government has announced that domestic flights will commence on the 8 July.

30 June: The government lifts the interstate travel ban and interstate travel can resume with 50% capacity.  The president also declared that schools will remain closed, but continue with e-learning.

22 June: The transport minister announced that they are not in a hurry to restart the train service due to covid-19. When the trains operate e.g. on the Abuja-Kaduna road, passengers will have to comply with safety operations.


1July:  In Utaka park in Abuja (a transport hub for interstate transport) operations have commenced following the lifting of the interstate ban.

The acting general secretary of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) says it is not their intention to increase transport fares. The union has previously requested a transport subsidy from the government, or they will increase transport fares.  

30June 2020: A transportation company in Nigeria called Peace Mass Transit (PMT) announced that it will resume interstate travel in accordance with government advice without increasing the fares, with 50% carriage.

28 June: Ruiti Agbero Limited, a service provider, has launched an app called Agbero  that allows customers to pay once and on their phones.

22 June: Workers protest at the health department in Abuja over claims of unpaid rights. A truck driver for instance said that he had not been paid for three months. Workers in detentions centres have been paid, but 5 drivers had been infected with covid-19 but nothing had been given to them.


Seventh set of listings of covid-19 reports relating to public transport from our research teams in Tunis, Abuja and Cape Town (6 June to 23 June 2020)


Current cases (23.6.2020): 20,919

Current deaths (23.6.2020):  525

Government initiatives

13.6.2020. The vice president’s committee on economic sustainability has warned that 39.4 million people may lose their jobs at the end of 2020. Covid-19 has had a negative impact on trade, tourism and the transport sector.

The minister of transportation says that China has been very helpful to the federal government in terms of reimbursement of cash to support railway construction.

8.6.2020. Passengers must have a negative covid-19 test before boarding a flight. These must be done within two weeks, otherwise they will not be valid. Passengers are required to fill a health form. Passengers must queue in an orderly manner in Nigeria, wear a facemask and follow hygiene measures. Passengers are advised to self-isolate for 14 days.


18.5.2020. Indications emerged that the airport is not ready to open for operations on the 21 June. There is a special need for financial interventions and the following of specific protocols. Most aviation workers have not been paid their wages.

13.6.2020. Transport operators lose 200 billion Naira in 3 months’ time due to the lockdown restrictions in the transport sector. Many transport companies have been unable to pay their staff, and thousands of vehicles have been parked for three months. Once they restart numerous technical problems may arise. Transport associations, such as the private taxi companies of Nigeria call for government assistance, and argued that the road transport companies have a stronger claim to the government

12.6.2020. The owners of the largest fleet of vehicles have called for the government to lift the interstate ban. The president of the Public Transport Owners of Nigeria Association (PTONA) said transportation was one of four most important elements for human existence after food, water and shelter, and pointed out that the government has an important role to play in facilitating transport. The longer the ban, the more businesses will die permanently.


China to Approve $5.3bn for Nigeria’s Railway Construction, Says Amaechi

Draft report (23 May to 5 June 2020)


Confirmed cases (5.6.2020): 11.516

Confirmed deaths (5.6.2020): 323

Government initiatives:

2.6.2020: The federal government has received coaches and locomotives from China and will be deployed when operations start. Some coaches are still on route to Abuja. The government has said that domestic flights might open on the 21.6.2020 but have not said when international flights might reopen. Some offices can open from 9-18.00 but social hygiene measures and social distancing has to be ensured. Business activities can take place three days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) from 7-16. People must still wear face masks in public, and there are still restrictions on social and religious gatherings – those who break these rules could face fines/imprisonment. Schools and restaurants are still closed. Interstate passenger travel is banned.


3.6. Our in-country team reports that transport fares in Abuja have increased.

1.6. An article in Aljazera reports that social distancing is largely ignored in Abuja and face masks are used minimally.

30.5.2020. The premium times website reports increased sexual and domestic violence against women in Nigeria during lockdown.

24.5.2020. The CEO of the planet project united argues that the transport sector in Nigeria will suffer because of covid19.


Draft report (9th May to 22 May 2020


Current cases (22.5.2020): 7016

Current deaths (22.5.2020): 211

Government initiatives

21.5.2020: The federal government appeals to traders not to increase food prices and transportation, and appealed to the union for transport workers (NURTW) to ensure that guidelines are followed.

17.5.2020: Nigeria impounded a plane operated by a British company for allegedly contravening a flight ban imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

15.5.2020: The ban on interstate travel remains. Nigerians still have to wear facemasks in public places. The Nigerian Travel Agency (NANTA) reports that the travel agency has lost more than 180 billion naira, and thousands of jobs. The e-hailing services have also been hardly hit. Bolt for instance only does deliveries whereas uber has halted its operations.

10.5.2020: 160 Nigerians were evacuated from the United States and landed in Abuja


20.5.2020: An article on the nationallight homepage (below) suggests that people in the transport sector will undergo economic hardship due to the interstate ban. Cargo employees have complained that some of their goods have gone bad.  Some travellers have been arrested for hiding in trucks

17.5.2020:  An article published on Naira metrics suggests that the airline industry in Nigeria will undergo many changes (e.g. in terms of travel destinations, social distancing and technology use), and many jobs will be lost in the aviation industry – and taken over by technology.


Draft report (25 April-8 May 2020)

PLEASE NOTE: This document contains only provisional information for each country, based on the information that our in-country teams have been able to access.  We hope to provide updates of this information approximately at fortnightly intervals. Please click on the numbers at the bottom of the page to view the info concerning Cape Town and Tunis.


Cases 8.5.2020: 3526. Deaths 107

Government requirements:

7.5.2020. The ban on flights has been extended for four weeks.

4.5.2020. The lockdown has been eased and people are going back to work. The president has said that the lockdown has come at a heavy cost, and people have lost their livelihoods. Shops and markets will remain open until mid-afternoon, but schools and places of worship will not be open. Shops and markets will now open until mid-afternoon and it is hoped that some people will be able to return to work.

But a ban on public gatherings remains in place and a nationwide curfew from 20:00 local time (19:00GMT) to 06:00 has been imposed. Schools and places of worship will remain closed.

Wearing of face masks while in public has been made mandatory and people must adhere to social distancing rule and other safety measures. Interstate travels has been suspended except for essential workers.

  1. Shops and markets will now open until mid-afternoon and it is hoped that some people will be able to return to work.

People must adhere to social distancing rule and other safety measures. Interstate travels has been suspended except for essential workers.

Travel between regions will, however, not be permitted despite the easing of the restrictions. There is a curfew between 20:00 and 06:00. In public spaces people must wear face masks, there must be mandatory temperature checks, hand washing facilities/or hand sanitizers, physical distancing of two meters. No sport and mass gatherings. Passenger flights and interstate travel (except essential) are prohibited. Nigerians abroad who are travelling to Nigeria must isolate for 14 days. Neighbourhoods and markets can stay open 3 times a week from 8 am to 3 pm. Banks and financial services can stay open from 8 to 2 pm. Government offices and corporate offices can stay open from 8 am-2 pm. Schools, churches, mosques, clubs, bars and gardens are still closed.

29.4.2020. The president encourages state governments to provide leadership and engage with relevant associations, e.g. transport associations for orderly and effective implementation of the lockdown.


4.5.2020. Newspaper reports suggest that the infection rates went up, as soon as the curfew was eased. See links below.


Draft report10 to 24 April 2020.

Abuja, Nigeria

Current cases: 981.

31 deaths (data 24.4.2020)

Government initiatives

14 April: The federal ministry of humanitarian affairs has said that N power beneficiaries in Nigeria should expect their monthly payments of 30.000 Naira. The N-power programme is a job creation and skills empowerment programme that supports young Nigerians in the whole country to develop skills to become practical solution providers for a period of two years.

7 April. Poor households (only selected) are expected to receive N20.000 monthly. The federal government has clarified how the N20,000 coronavirus lockdown palliative is being distributed.

Lockdown: matters arising

24 April  Our in-country team members report that the distribution of money has caused tension as some households are selected as poor and others not with many people queuing up for the N20.000 Naira mentioned above, but not receiving the full amount. Moreover, the event was filmed on national television and social distancing did not take place, possibly contributing to more infections. Corruption and politics might influence who gets helped and not, and whether vehicle owners, who have their vehicles in police custody, will get their vehicles back. It is easier to families who are wealthy to isolate at home, but people living in the suburbs, the focus of our research, are particularly at risk, especially women, transport workers, petty traders and even security officials. In the suburbs of Abuja roads around markets and parks are packed with petty traders, pushing their ways through the crows as well as motorized vehicles (motorbike riders, lorries and taxi drivers). They are trying to sustain a living, as they cannot afford to stock up on food, and stay at home.

23 April

Our team members report that the transport of food and other household good supplies is becoming more difficult due to covid-19, even though the transport of goods is allowed. This is due to bribes (security officials), and people cannot afford to pay for this at each checkpoint. Vegetables are getting rotten, and they have no place to store them. It is also more difficult to transport livestock. Children are being transported back and forth between their families (e.g. when a husband/wife lives in another state) despite the lockdown in Abuja. There is also an increased rate of domestic violence, due to more family members living together where they used to live apart.  Transport is becoming more and more expensive, as tricycles for example can only take one person at a time. A bus is only allowed 60% of its capacity. Women who cannot push their way are left stranded. Women are complaining that they used to be able to go together. Having ownership of a vehicle is better. Bus drivers and other forms of transport are still travelling on the roads in Abuja, but with fewer passengers, often dropping people outside state boundaries, as they know they cannot cross these areas. This leaves travelers stranded and women particularly vulnerable.

13 April. A taxi driver strips naked in protest to the lockdown explaining that he cannot feed his family.

4 April. The FCT task team impounds 51 cars, 9 tricycle and 46 motorcycles for violating the lockdown order, and will be in police custody until after the lockdown.


Draft report 1-9 April 2020


Cases 288. Deaths 7 (10.4.2020).

Government implementations

3.4. 2020. Any inter-state travel has been banned. All business except healthcare, food processor/ delivery, petroleum distributors, power companies and private security companies have been closed. Banks are temporarily shut for 14 days, including public transport. Open markets are shut but food shops, supermarkets and pharmacies can stay open. International airports and land borders have been closed, and cargo ships can enter, if they have been at sea for more than 14 days, and have no confirmed cases. The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has permitted the movement of fertilizers during the lockdown. A prominent legal practitioner, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to unlock Lagos and Abuja to ease the burden for people since Lagos state has declared a 100% recovery rate.

1.4. 2020. The Federal Government directed that food markets in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) would be allowed to open daily for four hours, from 10:00a.m. to 2:00p.m., Every person would be confined to his or her place of residence unless strictly for the purpose of performing an essential service. Commuter services between cities and states including passenger rail services, bus services, e-hailing services, maritime and air passenger transport are suspended for the period of the lockdown in the affected states. All borders linking the two states and FCT to the rest of the country would be shut during the period of the lockdown, except for the transportation of persons on essential duties, food, fuel, manufactured goods or donated relief items. Mass gatherings are prohibited, except for funeral services. Movement between and within the affected states and FCT is restricted except for workers involved in the delivery of authorized essential services, duties, food and goods. Commuter services between cities and states including, passenger rail services, bus services, e-hailing services, maritime and air passenger transport are suspended for the period of the lockdown in the affected states. Limited transport services are allowed for the movement of workers, services and goods in response to COVID-19 and for the purpose of seeking medical attention or provision of essential services. The essential services and businesses include clinics, hospitals, food shops, fuel stations, registered repair garages, company car services for essential staff, private security companies, trucks carrying essential items, courier and distribution companies and airlines handling essential staff.

Transport associations/other

1.4.2020. Uber suspends its services in Abuja for 14 days

31.3.2020. Our in-country team members report that there are more cases of domestic abuse in the country due to people staying at home. Hawkers and other people in vulnerable jobs (e.g. working for others from hand to mouth), moreover, risk starving. They have no income, and no money to buy/stockpile food.

6.3.2020. Spare part dealers worry since their sales are affected when no people are travelling to China.Useful links

FG opens food markets for four hours daily in Lagos, Ogun, Abuja

1.March.-31 March Draft report

30.3.2020. The Nigerian president announced that the country will go into lockdown at 11 pm on the 30.3.2020 for a period of 14 days. Nigeria has 111 confirmed cases of the COVID-19, with 3 recovery and one death.

28.3.2020. Update from Nigerian team member: There is restriction of movement within cities, with civil servants required to conduct government affairs from home. The only sectors permitted to move in cities are health and security. Markets remain generally open. This means transport business in peri-urban is active. Federal and state governments have imposed an inter-state and inter-town travel ban.

26. 3. 2020. All schools were closed (primary, secondary and tertiary).

21.3. 2020. The government has restricted entry into Nigeria for people travelling from China, Italy, Iran, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, the USA, the UK, Netherlands and Switzerland. This will last 4 weeks. No visas on arrival from these countries will be granted.

21.3. 2020. The in-country fieldwork has been put to a halt due to COVID-19.

1.3.2020. Screening measures have been heightened in airports (Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and FCT (Abuja). This includes a temperature screen and a form to fill in upon on arrival regarding symptoms and travel history. Even though travellers do not have symptoms, all travellers from any country have to self-isolate for 14 days when entering Nigeria.

Lassa fever, which is deadlier than COVID-19, might also influence the travel situation in the future.

Useful links:

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