COVID-19: FG to completely lockdown Nigeria ― Lai Mohammed
• 4,370 contacts now on tracing list
To prevent the exportation of coronavirus disease to states that do not have it and minimise spread, the Federal Government says it will soon lock down the entire country by stopping inter-state/inter-town travels and closing all motor parks and inter-state rail stations.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja, on Thursday, also said the list of those who were suspected to have had contacts with coronavirus patients has grown to 4,370.
He also explained that he and other members of Presidential Taskforce on Coronavirus were not in self-isolation because he had tested negative to its test and they could not afford to be distracted from the national service.
While noting that measures already put in place to stop the spread of the disease were working well, he, however, declared “we are determined to be more aggressive in enforcing the measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus through social distancing, contact tracing, testing, isolation of suspected cases and ensuring that our messaging gets down to the grassroots.”
He stated that already, all train movements nationwide have been stopped and that government will use firefighting and other adaptable vehicles and personnel to fumigate cities and towns.
“We will be considering and announcing new measures from time to time, but be rest assured that whatever decisions we take will be in the best interest of Nigerians.”
While urging those who have had contact with suspected cases to immediately report to the authorities, the minister lamented that government was not getting the kind of cooperation that this moment deserves from Nigerians.
“We urge Nigerians to support the authorities in this regard. We are on the verge of reaching the level of community spread. We must stop this immediately or we will record exponential cases in the days ahead. There is no better way to say this.”
According to him, rather than complying with the stipulated directives to keep people safe, many are busy engaging in meaningless criticisms.
“Some Nigerians who flew into the country from overseas filled wrong addresses and phone numbers in their forms, making it difficult to trace them when the need arises.
“Some Nigerians defied orders to stay away from large gatherings while some religious leaders wilfully flouted the directives to ensure social distancing.”
Mohammed warned against propagating fake news on coronavirus, which he said was not helping the fight against the disease.
“Instances of such fake news include – That there are only two ventilators in Abuja, out of which one has been commandeered for a top government official – That a British Airways Flight was due to land in Nigeria on Wednesday despite the closure of all international airports. – That President Muhammadu Buhari has been coughing and is now on a ventilator. It’s all fake news.”
He noted that government had also increased the number of bed spaces for isolation of suspects by converting a 40-bed hotel, a 60-bed medical centre and another 160-bed hospitality facility all in the FCT and that “we are still looking at other facilities within the Federal Capital Territory.”
The minister announced receipt of a donation of safety and test kits from the Jack Ma Foundation in China, which includes 100,000 face masks, 1,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) and 20,000 test kits.
“The face masks and the PPE will be distributed to the front-line health workers while the test kits will be shared among the five test laboratories.”