Nigeria hurriedly shuts her NY Consulate for 10 days from Thursday 18 February to protect staff from a rash of Covid-19 infections that hit the facility.
Consulate officials said in a statement that this closure is from Thursday 18 February to Sunday, 28 February 2021.
This is “due to the number of staff who are quarantined as a result of exposure to COVID-19 at work.”
“This action has become necessary to safeguard the health of staff and visitors to the Consulate,” it said.
The consulate will reschedule dates and inform passport applicants invited for biometrics within the period, according to the statement.
“All other requests for consular service should be mailed to the Consulare during this period,” it said.
The office will reopen on 1 March 2021, officials said.
The Nigerian Consulate did not indicate how many of its staff have contracted the virus and are quarantined.
New York City is a high risk zone in the State, based on infection rates and fatalities recorded to date.
The City alone recorded over 697,000 cases of Covid-19 infections to date, out of which more than 28,000 died.
This figure is nearly half of cases recorded for the entire state and more than half the deaths as well.
The news comes as a disappointment to residents if 20 States in the US that are serviced from the Consulate.
Nigeria’s New York Consulate serves residents of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Ohio, and Indiana.
Others are Connecticut, Illinois, Rhode Island, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Winconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
The NY Consulate played a key role in evacuation of Nigerian citizens stranded when US shut its airspace at the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020.