Nigeria: This Is No Joke, India, Italy, France Are Locked Down, We Can't Be Lax ― Buhari

(file photo).
13 April 2020

"This is not a joke. It is a matter of life and death. Mosques in Makkah and Madina have been closed. The Pope celebrated Mass on an empty St. Peter's Square.

"The famous Notre Dame cathedral in Paris held Easter Mass with less than 10 people. India, Italy and France are in complete lockdown. Other countries are in the process of following suit. We cannot be lax."

Those were the words of President Muhammadu Buhari as he announced a 14-day extension of the ongoing lockdown in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

Buhari, in a nationwide broadcast on updates after the first 14 days, said that information available to him from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) revealed that a large proportion of new infections are now occurring in our communities, through person-to-person contacts.

The Nigerian president also hinted that he had signed the Quarantine Order in this regard and additional regulations to provide clarity in respect of the control measures for the COVID-19 pandemic which will be released soon.

"At this point, I will remind all Nigerians to continue to take responsibility for the recommended measures to prevent transmission, including maintaining physical distancing, good personal hygiene and staying at home.

"The National Centre for Disease Control has informed me that, a large proportion of new infections are now occurring in our communities, through person-to-person contacts. So we must pay attention to the danger of close contact between person to person.

"The public health response to COVID-19 is built on our ability to detect, test and admit cases as well as trace all their contacts. While I note some appreciable progress, we can achieve a lot more," he said.

Buhari further said that "Today, the cessation of movement, physical distancing measures and the prohibition of mass gatherings remain the most efficient and effective way of reducing the transmission of the virus. By sustaining these measures, combined with extensive testing and contact tracing, we can take control and limit the spread of the disease.

"Our approach to the virus remains in 2 steps - First, to protect the lives of our fellow Nigerians and residents living here and second, to preserve the livelihoods of workers and business owners.

"With this in mind and having carefully considered the briefings and Report from the Presidential Task Force and the various options offered, it has become necessary to extend the current restriction of movement in Lagos and Ogun states as well as the FCT for another 14 days effective from 11:59 pm on Monday, 13th of April, 2020. I am therefore once again asking you all to work with Government in this fight."

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