As Nigeria's confirmed COVID-19 cases rise to 151 on Wednesday, April 1, Femi Adesina, the special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity, chronicled the president's efforts to contain the pandemic.
Legit.ng takes a look at the president's efforts and highlights the core actions his administration has so far taken to contain the pandemic.
1. Strengthen surveillance at Nigeria's five international airports
Before Nigeria confirmed its first coronavirus case, the federal government stepped up surveillance at its five international airports in the country to prevent the spread of the virus. The airports are those in Enugu, Lagos, Rivers, Kano and the FCT.
2. The NCDC set up coronavirus preparedness group
Also before the index case was confirmed, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) set up a coronavirus preparedness group and prepared to activate its incident system.
3. Presidential Task Force created
In a bid to contain the spread of the virus after an Italian tested positive for the virus in Lagos, President Buhari established a Presidential Task Force saddled with the responsibility of controlling the spread of the virus in Nigeria.
4. Postponement/suspension of major events
As the virus started spreading slowly across the country, President Buhari directed that major events with large gatherings be postponed or suspended.
For instance, the 20th National Sports Festival that was billed to hold in Benin City, Edo state, was postponed.
The management of the National Youth Service Corps also suspended the 2020 Batch A stream one 21 days orientation exercise indefinitely.
Also, the Nigeria Football Federation suspended all football activities for four weeks.
5. Travel restrictions/ban
After evaluating the situation, President Buhari approved the restriction of movements from some high-risk countries.
Travellers from China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, United States, Norway, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden and Austria which had over 1,000 COVID-19 cases were barred from entering Nigeria.
6. Suspension of visa issuance
·The federal government also stopped the issuance of visas and suspended the issuance of visa on arrival to travellers from the affected countries.
7. Closure of schools
To further contain the spread of the virus, the Nigerian government announced the closure of tertiary educational institutions, secondary and primary.
Other academic activities have also been suspended. For instance, the National Examination Council (NECO) has announced an indefinite postponement of the 2020 common entrance examination into 104 Unity schools in the country.
8. Closure of airports
All international airports in Enugu, Port Harcourt and Kano, Abuja and Lagos have been closed for an initial four weeks.
9. Railway service suspension
The Nigerian Railway Corporation has also suspended all passenger services.
10. Postponement of FEC
President Buhari has also suspended the Federal Executive Council, (FEC) and National Council of State (NCS) meetings indefinitely.
12. Suspension of electoral activities
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has also announced the suspension of all activities for 14 days.
13. Markets shutdown
The Federal Capital Territory Administration and many state governments have ordered the immediate closure of shops in the markets and neighbourhood centres, except those selling food items, medicines and other essential commodities.
14. Suspension of gatherings in churches and mosques
The FCT and many state governments have also directed the immediate suspension of gathering in churches and mosques.
15. Financial intervention
The federal government said it has released N10 billion to Lagos state, and N5 billion special intervention fund to NCDC to equip, expand and provide personnel to its facilities and laboratories across the country.
16. Procurement of medical supplies
The federal government also said it has received 107 boxes of medical supplies from China, comprising surgical masks, protective clothing, face shields and detection kits.
17. Recall of NCDC staff
To ensure that there is no shortage of staff, the federal government said it instructed the NCDC to draft all its recent retirees back into service.
18. Budget review
The federal government is also reviewing the budget to reflect the current economic realities.
19. Boost food production and medical products
President Buhari has also reportedly directed the minister of industry, trade and investment, to work with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), to ensure that production of essential items such as food, medical and pharmaceutical products continues.
21: Federal workers to work from home
The Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF) has also directed public servants on Grade Levels 12 and below on non-essential roles to work from home.
22. Contract tracing by the NCDC
As the NCDC and individual states take care of the infected persons in the isolation centres, contact-tracing is also on-going to identify persons who had been in close contact with confirmed cases.
There are also regular updates from the relevant agencies to keep the citizens informed.
23. Nationwide address
·After weeks of silence, President Buhari on Sunday, March 29, addressed Nigerians on what his administration has been doing to combat the virus.
24. COVID-19 law
·On Monday, March 30, President Buhari signed COVID-19 Regulations, 2020 into law.
·In the evening of Monday, the lockdown in the FCT, Lagos, and Ogun states started as directed by President Buhari.
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