Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday night, said the containment measures put in place by the federal government have so far yielded a positive outcome in the fight against COVID-19 in the country.
Mr Buhari during his third presidential address on the virus said despite the increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases recorded in the past two weeks, the country is not doing badly in combating the spread of the virus.
Mr Buhari said the initial models had predicted that Nigeria will record an estimated 2,000 confirmed cases in the first month after the index case.
As of the time of reporting, Nigeria has recorded 1,273 cases across 32 States and the FCT, with 40 deaths from the virus.
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Mr Buhari said despite the numbers, the measures put in place thus far have yielded positive outcomes against the projections.
To contain the spread of the disease, the federal government had earlier directed the lockdown of three major cities (Lagos, Ogun and the FCT) for four weeks.
The government had also closed the land borders, air space and restricted entry from the seaports.
While some of the restrictions still hold, Mr Buhari said the measures have also reduced imported cases of COVID-19 into the country to about 19 per cent of the total cases.
The first sets of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country had been from travellers who returned to the country.
“For the past four weeks, most parts of our country have been under either Federal Government or State Government lockdown,” Mr Buhari said.
“As I mentioned earlier, these steps were necessary and overall, have contributed to slowing down the spread of COVID-19 in our country,” he said.
He added that the government will continue to enforce land border arrival protocols as part of the containment strategy
While the president in his address announced that the lockdown in the three states will be relaxed from next Monday, he has directed a total lockdown of Kano State.
Mr Buhari expressed worries over the situation in Kano state.
“I am gravely concerned about the unfortunate developments in Kano in recent days,” he said.
Although an in-depth investigation is still ongoing, Mr Buhari said the federal government has decided to deploy additional manpower, material and technical resources to strengthen and support the Kano State government’s efforts, with immediate effect.
In the meantime, Kano State is to be on total lockdown for two weeks, he said.
Nigeria is now experiencing community transmission and this has warranted the government to amend its tactics of combating the outbreak.
Mr Buhari said the use of face masks or coverings in public has become mandatory in addition to maintaining physical distancing and personal hygiene.
“Furthermore, the restrictions on social and religious gatherings shall remain in place, he said.