The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman Presidential Task Force on the Covid-19 pandemic says the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has received 4500 calls so far from distressed Nigerians.
While briefing journalists on Sunday March 22, he said that Nigeria had so far recorded 36 cases (40 as of 24 March) and one fatality and that, going by World Health Organization’s statistics, the virus has hit 192 countries with over 329,000 cases. In Africa, 42 out of 54 countries have reported cases while 48 deaths have been recorded.
“The strategy of government is to focus on testing, detection and containment through contact tracking in order to minimize hugely, the possibility of community spread,” Mustapha said at the briefing. “We urge anyone experiencing the symptoms of the virus or have been in contact with anyone who has been suspected or tested positive to please report at the nearest medical facility or the designated center.”
The Nigerian government is doing all it can, he said, to rise up to the situation, making both Lagos and Abuja priority locations in view of their populations, mobility rates and cases so far reported.
To deal with the situation, plans are underway to get more testing kits, set up additional test centres, acquire personnel protection equipment (PPE) for different categories of frontline personnel; enhancing contact tracking; and deepening awareness creation.
Other measures taken include: mobilising experts and trained personnel whether in service or retired; introduction social distancing policies and banning mass gathering of over fifty (50) persons; closure of schools and tertiary institutions.
As of midnight all land borders had been closed and international flights into the country banned for an initial period of four weeks, effective 23 March.
“Leaders of different faiths have been encouraged to restrict services and activities that involve mass gathering of more than fifty of their adherents,” he said. “State governments are also enforcing this policy at different levels.”
“In order to protect Federal Civil and Public Servants, a circular to be issued by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF) shall direct on actions to be taken immediately.”
As of the time of filing this report, the NCDC had announced three new cases while the Lagos State Ministry of Health notified the public that one of the recently confirmed cases attended the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA), held at the Eko Hotels on 14 March.
“Attendees at the said event are therefore advised to observe strict self-isolation, call the toll-free line (08000corona) if they notice any of #COVID19 related symptoms,” a tweet by the ministry advised.