Nigeria: Coronavirus - Govt On Top of Situation - Presidency

COVID COVID-19 novel Coronavirus
19 March 2020

The Presidency on Thursday assured Nigerians that the government was on top of the situation, just as Nigeria confirmed new cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in the country.

Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, in a statement today, said President Muhammadu Buhari trusts the relevant Ministers in his cabinet and the officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), who are providing him with constant updates and professional counsel.

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Shehu, who said these officials have a track record of competence, pleaded with Nigerians not to see this most peculiar time as one to be politicised or seen as an opportunity to regurgitate grudges against the government or the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

He said "all Nigerians must unite to fight this plague, irrespective of religious or ideological affiliation".

"There is no cause for panic. So far, measures put in place are working efficiently. What this country is doing has been recommended as a template.

"We do not want to create panic. But we will continue to update the Nigerian public with relevant information. We plead with every Nigerian to cooperate with the government in the fight against COVID-19 and obey all instructions from the NCDC.

"We have a high level Presidential Coordination Committee chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF). This body should be allowed to carry out its duties.

"Populist advocacies such as the one accusing the President of 'complacency' simply because he has not made a television address by ranking members of our respected parliament are cheap and sensational. These are not the times for populism and cheap politics.

"President Buhari thanks all those at the forefront of the fight against the deadly disease," he said.

The statement added: "Nigeria, like every other country around the world, is dealing with the unexpected and unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Muhammadu Buhari administration has taken some steps to mitigate the effects on the Nigerian people.

"To prevent the spread of cases imported into Nigeria, the President has already ordered the restrictions of travel from 13 countries, each with more than 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

"Government has also suspended visas issued to nationals of these countries. The restriction will take effect from March 21 and will remain until further notice. While Nigeria delights in welcoming the world, the safety and protection of our citizens and land must take priority.

"The various agencies of government including media owned by the government have embarked on vigorous campaigns promoting hygiene measures.

"There are, currently, very stringent regimes of checks at the points of air and sea entry into the country. The effort Nigeria is making as is well known, has already received the commendation of the World Health Organisation (WHO)."

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