The streets of Nigeria's capital Abuja returned to life on Monday as Africa's biggest economy began reopening its major cities after more than four weeks of lockdown to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Locals seemed to be largely ignoring social distancing guidelines, which remain in place, with crowds of dozens gathered in small spaces as well as long and tightly packed queues for ATM machines.

The Nigerian government had put a stay-at-home order in place on March 30th in Abuja as well as in the states of Lagos and Ogun, this order will be gradually lifted over the space of six weeks.

"We accept easing of lockdown but we don't accept keeping hungry. The government should have to take care of masses, in any way they have to do it they have to do it," stated local resident Chuwke Obi.

Local businesses are now allowed to open up again provided they have decontaminated their locations and have enough space to enable social distancing. Schools and places of worship will remain closed, whereas restaurants can work as takeaways only. All sporting and cultural events have been cancelled.

Nigeria has reported 2,558 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 87 deaths with the virus, since the outbreak began.

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Associated Press 11 May 2020 11:44 CEST

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