Buhari promises more measures to curtail COVID-19

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that he is keeping a close eye on developments around the world concerning the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and would not hesitate to introduce more control measures should the need arise.

According to a statement issued by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity) in Abuja on Thursday night, the president also advised Nigerians to adhere to the guidelines already issued on the prevention of the disease.

“The President is keeping a close eye on international developments on the spread of COVID-19 and will intensify or introduce new measures if they become necessary to protect Nigerians,” the statement said.

It quoted Buhari as saying: “I advise all Nigerians to follow to the latter the health guidelines issued by the Federal Ministry of Health and our State Governments.

“Wash your hands thoroughly many times throughout the day. Observe ‘social distancing’ of a minimum of two metres. Do not make unnecessary journeys outside of your homes. Do not attend public meetings or public gatherings – including religious events – which is where, through social contact, the virus can easily be transmitted.

“The Federal Ministry of Health will continue to issue daily updates on all developments. Please refer to public announcements by the Ministry on radio, television, www.health.gov.ng and Twitter at @Fmohnigeria.’’

The statement noted that with regard to the request by the government of Lagos State for financial support to combat and contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Lagos and Nigeria, the President has already approved the sum of N10 billion which release was effected within two days of the request.

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The President has also approved and ensured the prompt release of N5 billion special intervention requested by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to equip and expand their facilities and laboratories.

In the the same vein, the President has given approval to NCDC’s request for an aircraft from the Presidential Air Fleet for emergency situations.

The statement informed that President Buhari has furthermore authorized the evacuation of three critical members of the NCDC team who are stuck in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo where they went for a training organized by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

It added: “These measures are in addition to the ones approved and announced by the Presidential Task Force, PTF including the closure of land borders to human traffic for four weeks; the conversion of all Hajj transit camps to be utilized as COVID-19 isolation centres; the directive that all non-essential government employees work from home and for a daily briefing of the nation through the PTF.

“Other approved measures already put into place include the ban of flights from and into the country, suspension of the Federal Executive Council and National Council of State meetings and a directive for engagements, at the highest levels between the Federal Government and the state governments.

“President Buhari has also directed for the escalation of the nation’s capacity for testing and detection with the acquisition of testing kits and establishment of additional test centres; acquisition of Personnel Protection Equipment and the mobilization of experts and trained staff serving and recall of some of those retired.

“The closure of schools and tertiary institutions and the suspension of religious and other gatherings above the fifty prescribed number are also parts of the measures approved and are in place.”

 

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