FG Set For More Aggressive Measures To Contain COVID-19 Spread
The Nigerian government has hinted of the move to roll out very aggressive action to stop the spread of novel Coronavirus, COVID-19 in the country.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed said at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday that the strategy at containing this pandemic is working, but there is still a long way to go.
“We are determined to be more aggressive in enforcing the measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus, such as Social distancing, Contact tracing, Testing, Isolation of suspected cases and ensuring that our messaging gets down to the grassroots
“But the truth is that time is running out. If we don’t urgently and more aggressively enforce the measures I have just listed, we have a short window within which to stop this pandemic or face an explosion in terms of the cases. We cannot afford to be complacent.
“In view of this, we are considering tougher measures to enforce compliance, stop the exportation of the disease to states that do not have it and minimize spread. Possible measures include stopping inter-state/inter-town travels, except for essential services, closing all motor parks and inter-state rail stations. Already, all train movements nationwide have been stopped, using fire fighting and other adaptable vehicles and personnel to fumigate cities and towns.
“We will be considering and announcing new measures from time to time, but rest assured that whatever decisions we take will be in the best interest of Nigerians,” the Minister aid.
The Minister also announced that the authorities are tracing 4,370 people of interest. “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. 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.
“Let me say, without mincing words, that 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 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 willfully flouted the directives to ensure social distancing. The government is doing its best but we need the citizens to do their best too. We have now gone past the stage of persuasion. It’s time for strong enforcement.
He applauded the action of some corporate organisations and individuals who have responded to support the efforts of the government to stop the spread COVID-19. He said: “We have noted the decision of at least five domestic airlines – Air Peace, Aero and Azman, Dana and Arik – to suspend their flight operations.
“The suspension is a boost for the efforts of the government to check the spread of the pandemic. Some of the airlines have also announced one form of support or another for the government’s efforts to tackle the pandemic. This is very commendable. We are aware of more private sector support to the FG and will be announcing this after full compilation. We seek the support and cooperation of more capable individuals and organizations in order to defeat this pandemic.”