The Nigeria High Commission in Ottawa, Canada, has suspended passport application processing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in its community.
In a statement dated March 16, the high commission said that the suspension was effective immediately and would last until further notice.
It, however, said the issuance of Emergency Travel Certificates (ETC) and visas would continue for those who needed to travel urgently.
“This measure is in line with the Canadian government’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention’s guideline of “social distancing” as a “community mitigation strategy” to limit the spread of COVID-19.
“It is a conscious effort by government to reduce contact between people and hopefully stem community transmission of the virus.
“Applicants for ETC and visas should, as usual, forward their applications by mail, attaching the relevant documents.
“The ETC or visa would be processed and mailed back to the applicants accordingly,” the high commission said.
It “strongly advised” Nigerians in Canada to strictly comply with COVID-19-related guidelines provided by health authorities in their various communities.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Canada recorded no fewer than 324 confirmed cases and four deaths across all 10 provinces as of Monday morning.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced closure of the country’s borders to non-citizens or non-permanent residents as part of measures to check spread of the disease.
But the new measures do not apply to citizens of neighboring U.S. with 4,482 confirmed cases and 86 fatalities as of Tuesday morning.
Besides being in a state of emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. has also shut its borders especially against European countries.
The Nigerian missions in the country have also suspended passport and visa processing activities involving gathering of applicants in their premises.