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Buhari to Nigerians: stay away from public, religious gatherings

Published by The Nation on Fri, 27 Mar 2020


Bolaji Ogundele, AbujaNIGERIANS should stay away from public gatherings, including religious events, President Muhammadu Buhari directed on Thursday.The President was quoted as giving the directive in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu.Buhari also asked Nigerians to observe the various advisories issued by the Health Ministry, especially on social distancing, noting that the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads faster through crowding.The statement reads: I advise all Nigerians to follow to the letter the health guidelines issued by the Federal Ministry of Health and our state governments.Wash your hands thoroughly many times throughout the day. Observe social distancing of a minimum of two metres. Do not make unnecessary journeys outside of your homes. Do not attend public meetings or public gatheringsincluding religious eventswhich is where, through social contact, the virus can easily be transmitted.The Federal Ministry of Health will continue to issue daily updates on all developments. Please refer to public announcements by the Ministry on radio, television, www.health.gov.ng and @Fmohnigeri.The statement confirmed that the President has approved N10 billion as a response to a Lagos State request for financial support to contain the spread of COVID-19.According to the statement, the fund was released to the state within two days of the request.Read Also:Buhari busy with keeping Nigerians safePresidencyThe President has also approved and ensured the prompt release of N5 billion special intervention requested by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to equip and expand their facilities and laboratories.In the same vein, the President has given approval to NCDCs request for an aircraft from the Presidential Air Fleet for emergency situations. He has furthermore authorised the evacuation of three critical members of the NCDC team who are stuck in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo where they went for a training organsied by the World Health Organisation (WHO).It added: These measures are in addition to the ones approved and announced by the Presidential Task Force, PTF including the closure of land borders to human traffic for four weeks; the conversion of all Hajj transit camps to be utilised as COVID-19 isolation centers; the directive that all non-essential government employees to work from home and for a daily briefing of the nation through the PTF.Other approved measures already put into place include the ban of flights from and into the country, suspension of the Federal Executive Council and National Council of State meetings and a directive for engagements, at the highest levels between the Federal Government and the state governments.President Buhari has also directed for the escalation of the nations capacity for testing and detection with the acquisition of testing kits and establishment of additional test centers; acquisition of Personnel Protection Equipment and the mobilisation of experts and trained staff serving and recall of some of those retired.The closure of schools and tertiary institutions and the suspension of religious and other gatherings above the fifty prescribed number are also parts of the measures approved and are in place.The President is keeping a close eye on international development on the spread of COVID-19 and will intensify or introduce new measures if they become necessary to protect Nigerians.
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