Boss Mustapha

COVID-19: Another Total Lockdown Unlikely, Says Nigerian Govt

Despite the spike in COVID-19 cases in the country, the federal government of Nigeria Thursday downplayed the possibility of imposing another total lockdown on parts of the country to mitigate the spread of virus.

There has been a steady rise in number of confirmed cases in recent times.

In its daily update Thursday, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced 681 new cases of COVID-19 to bring the total to 14,554. Also, a total of 4,494 people have been discharged nationwide and 387 deaths recorded.

A breakdown of the fresh cases showed Lagos topping the chart with 345 new infections followed by Rivers – 51; Ogun – 48; Gombe – 47; Oyo – 36; Imo – 31; Delta – 28; Kano – 23; Bauchi – 18; Edo- 12; Katsina- 12; Kaduna – 9; Anambra – 7; Jigawa – 5; Kebbi – 4; Ondo – 4; and Nasarawa – 1.

However, reacting to fears of another possible lockdown imposed on Lagos and Ogun States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for about six weeks at beginning of the pandemic, the Chairman of Presidential Task Force of COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha, ruled out the possibility of another total lockdown.

Mustapha, at the regular press briefing by the task force in Abuja, said another lockdown might not be necessary while the federal government in terms of strategic implementation of its policy would not be looking towards that direction as the country’ “cannot be moving forward and begin to move backward again.”

His clarification was in response to a suggestion seeking to know if the federal government might be contemplating another review of the total lockdown in the light of the exponential daily increase in the number of cases.

He explained that the federal government would rather concentrate on how to strengthen what it had put in place, as well as to ensure compliance with all other non-pharmaceutical interventions already developed.

”I have indicated in my first address on this subject that we will study the situation, look at it and see how we are going. And if there is need for review that such will be advised by data, by science, by experiences of other jurisdictions and by the peculiarities of our environment.

”To go back to a total lockdown must be taken into context of what we do desire to achieve after we locked down for about four or five weeks and see how we fare. So, the issue of review might not have that in contemplation because you can’t move forward and begin to move backward again.

”In terms of strategic implementation of our policy, we might not be looking towards that direction, but we might be looking at how to strengthen what we have put in place, how to ensure compliance and all other non-pharmaceutical interventions we have put in place,” Mustapha said.

According to him, the country has got to the state where every Nigerian must take responsibility and take ownership of how to navigate the pandemic to stay alive and survive it.

He said government was working with community and religious leaders and all forms of informal leaderships to cede the ownership of fighting the virus to the people.

He also expressed concern over the projection by the Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, Dr. Anthony Fauci, projecting 200,000 Americans to die from COVID-19 by September this year.

He said Nigerians should be concerned about the projection, which goes to say that the virus is real.

“September is just down the road. We are talking about three months. I am worried if as a people and as a nation we don’t see this. The truth about this is that there is much government can do but the responsibility has now been ceded to the Nigerian people,” he stated.

 

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