President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the recall of recent retirees of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as the number of confirmed cases surge up to 65 in the country.
The President, in a statement, said the recall of NCDC retirees back into the service “is to beef up our manpower as we respond to the pandemic.”
The President further directed that all NCDC staff and experts who are away on training or international assignments are to return immediately.
He also directed the immediate release of N10 billion to Lagos State Government which remains the epic centre of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Nigeria.
In addition to this, President Buhari also disclosed that he has directed that N5 billion be released to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC, as special intervention fund, to equip, expand and provide personnel for its laboratories across the country.
He also stated that only cargo vessels that have been at sea for more than 14 days be allowed to dock at Nigeria ports, after the crew have been tested and confirmed disease-free by the Port Health Authorities.
“This 14-day restriction, he stated, will not apply to vessels carrying oil and gas products as by their nature, there is minimal human contact.
As part of the measures to sustain government response further imminent lockdown, he disclosed that the Nigerian Air Force is already making its fleet available to the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, to enable a better coordinated and more effective response across the country.
“To protect our homeland from external exposure, I directed the immediate closure of our International Airports and Land Borders for four weeks in the first instance.”
Over the last few days I have received extensive briefings on the state of the nation as it relates to the Covid-19 pandemic, from the relevant Federal Government agencies as well as the Lagos State Government.
Accordingly, I approved the following:
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) March 26, 2020
The immediate release of a 10 billion Naira grant to Lagos State, which remains the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak in Nigeria. This grant will enable Lagos increase its capacity to control and contain the outbreak, while also supporting other States with capacity-building.
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) March 26, 2020
The President disclosed that the government has put inappropriate policies, processes and infrastructure to cope with suspected and confirmed cases at home, without risking a compounding of the situation with more imported cases.
“The inconvenience caused by these flight and travel restrictions to our fellow citizens abroad who want to return home is regrettable, but it is necessary for the greater good, and I thank you all for your understanding and cooperation.
The government had earlier announced the suspension in the movements, including those of commuter trains to limit the spread of the virus to other parts of the country.
He commended the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, “for their financial intervention to support our entrepreneurs and companies as we go through this difficult time.
The government, he said was also looking at fiscal measures to minimise the negative impact of this pandemic on the livelihood of millions of Nigerians.
“As you are aware we have begun the process of reviewing the federal budget. We shall communicate our fiscal interventions once the budget review process is concluded.
“In the meantime, I have directed the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, to work with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), to ensure that all production of essential items such as food, medical and pharmaceutical products continues unhindered.”
He announced that his government is also engaging Nigeria’s international friends and partners to share knowledge and to seek their support in our response to the pandemic. We are grateful for the show of support thus far – we have already started receiving goods and supplies intended to help us scale up our efforts.
Confirmed Cases Jump to 65
The NCDC as of Thursday evening confirmed 65 cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
The report posted on its official Twitter handle showed that 14 new cases were recorded on Thursday.
“Of the 14 cases, six were detected on a vessel, three were returning travellers into Nigeria and one was a close contact of a confirmed case,” NCDC tweeted
14 new cases of #COVID19 have been confirmed in Nigeria: 2 in FCT, 12 in Lagos
Of the 14, 6 were detected on a vessel, 3 are returning travellers into Nigeria & 1 is close contact of a confirmed case
As at 7:35 pm 26th March, there are
65 confirmed cases
1 death pic.twitter.com/123vN6oNEB
— NCDC (@NCDCgov) March 26, 2020
From the 65 total cases, Lagos has now recorded 44, FCT 12, Ogun three, Ekiti, Edo, Oyo, Bauchi, Osun and Rivers States all recorded one each.
While 62 cases are under isolation and receiving treatment, three had been discharged after their viral load regressed back to negative. One person had died.