…FG traces 4,370 people
…Abba Kyari not secretly flown abroad- Aide
… Osun State closes land borders, others
By Shorunke Tunde
President Muham madu Buhari has approved N15 billion for Lagos state, Other states and Nigeria Center for Disease and Control (NCDC) to fight against coronavirus(COVID-19 ) in the country.
He also directed the NCDC to draft its recent retirees back into service to assist in containing the outbreak.
The NCDC on Thursday confirmed 14 new cases taken the total number of confirmed cases to 65 which is the highest number of cases confirmed so far in a single day.
The Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to the Buhari, on Thursday said protecting Nigerians from coronavirus is a key priority of his administration, highlighting the efforts of health agencies.
According to him, “With developing news around the world and in Nigeria on the Coronavirus pandemic, President Buhari issues the following statement: I advise all Nigerians to follow to the letter 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, web at www.health.gov.ng and Twitter at @Fmohnigeria.
“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.”
Shehu added that the president has also approved and ensured the prompt release of N5 billion special intervention requested by the NCDC to equip and expand their facilities and laboratories.
“In the same vein, the President has given approval to NCDC’s request for an aircraft from the Presidential Air Fleet for emergency situations. He 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 World Health Organisation (WHO) training,” he said.
“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 centers; the directive that all non-essential government employees to 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 States 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 centers; acquisition of Personnel Protection Equipment and the mobilization of experts and trained staff serving and recall of some of those retired.
“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.”
FG traces 4,370 people
Due to recent hike in Coronavirus Index around the globe, the federal government has announced that it is now tracing over 4,370 people who may have contacts with infected patients.
The federal government has highlighted that it is tracing no fewer than 4,370 people that have contacts with index cases of the novel Coronavirus epidemic within the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made this known on Thursday in Abuja, while giving an update on the measures being taken by the government to tackle the pandemic.
“We have 4,370 people of interest whom we are tracing, and we urge those who have had contact with suspected cases to immediately report to the authorities.
“We urge Nigerians to support the authorities in this regard, because 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,” he said.
The minister noted that being positive to Coronavirus is not a death sentence, and there is no justification for people not to surrender themselves for test.
He said 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 arose.
“We are not getting the kind of cooperation that this moment deserves from Nigerians.
“Many are busy engaging in meaningless criticisms instead of complying with the stipulated directives to keep people safe.
“Some Nigerians defied orders to stay away from large gatherings, while some religious leaders wilfully flouted the directives to ensure social distancing.
“The government is doing its best, but we need the citizens to do their best too,” he said.
The minister said it has got to the stage when government would have to use “strong enforcement” for people to comply with directives aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.
Abba Kyari not secretly flown abroad – Aide
Presidential aide, Bashir Ahmad, has refuted an ongoing claim that President Buhari and his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, have been secretly flown out of the country for treatment.
Reports emerged in some quarters on Thursday that the President and his Chief of Staff have secretly left the country to have themselves treated of the Coronavirus.
Kyari tested positive to the disease during the week while President Buhari was confirmed negative.
There are rumours that the President could be suffering from the dreaded disease but the Minister of Information, debunked such claims during a press conference on Thursday.
Ahmad described the report that both men have been secretly flown abroad as untrue.
He tweeted, “The voice note that President @MBuhari and Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari have been secretly flown out of the country is totally UNTRUE.
“It was intentionally recorded to cause chaos and fear. This fake news was originated and being circulated by one @jacksonpbn.”
Osun State closes land borders
As part of the ongoing measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the State, Osun State Government on Thursday announced the closure of major markets with effect from Friday.
The state government limits the boarding capacity of vehicles operating within the State.
The Government also announced the closure of the land borders into the State with effect from Saturday, 28th March.
In a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Prince Wole Oyebamiji, the government announced that all markets in the State, including Orisumbare, Ajegunle spare part market and Ayegbaju market will be shut with effect from Friday.
The statement further announced that all shopping malls will also be shut, except for their pharmaceutical, foods and medical needs outlets.
Speaking on transportation within the State, Oyebamiji said: “all motorcycles henceforth will carry only one passenger, while all mini buses will carry only four passengers with one passenger in front, one in the middle and two at the back seat.”
The Government then advised all returnees from the United Kingdom, the United States of America and other countries marked as high-risk countries, who returned to the State of Osun in the last two weeks, to call the State’s emergency number – 293 – for instructions on how to stay safe.