Economy Maritime

COVID-19: FG orders total closure of land borders, suspends FEC meetings

Buhari seeks Senate approval for $5.513bn external loans
Written by Maritime First

… Nigeria begs China for technical support, as cases hit 40***

The Federal Government on Monday ordered total closure of land borders, suspension of Federal Executive Meetings and the postponement of the meeting of the Council of State scheduled for Thursday March 26.

With the confidence to fight the dreaded Coronavirus (COVID 19) fast eroding, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) also on Monday, begged the Chinese Government to give technical support, following 36 confirmed cases, two discharged and one death recorded. Ironically, while the Minister speaks, four new cases were unfolded, bringing the new figure to 40.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha announced the border closure in Abuja, at a  news conference to update the media on further decisions to monitor the spread of Coronavirus in the country.

Mustapha, who is also the Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, said; “In furtherance of our ongoing engagement with the public and stakeholders through the PTF and the Minister of Health, I find it necessary to update you on recent developments regarding the management of matters arising from COVID-19 Pandemic.

“President Muhammadu Buhari on the recommendation of PTF has approved the following additional measures.

“All land borders that have been hitherto under partial closure shall now be closed for human traffic for four weeks effective, March 23;

“In order to protect Federal Civil and Public Servants, a circular to be issued by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF) shall direct on actions to be taken immediately.

“All Abuja and Lagos residents are strongly advised to stay at home,  avoid mass congregation of any kind as well as non-essential outings, until further advice is given,“ he said.

Mustapha said the strategy of government was to focus on testing, detection and containment through contact tracking in order to minimise hugely, the possibility of community spread.

He urged anyone experiencing the symptoms of the virus or has been in contact with anyone who had been suspected or tested positive to report at the nearest medical facility or the designated center.

“The PTF continues to monitor the global and domestic developments and has isolated Lagos and Abuja for particular attention in view of their population, mobility and number of cases already reported.

“As you are all aware, a number of advisories have been issued and measures taken,” he said.

He listed part of the measures being taken presently to include,  escalating the nation’s capacity for testing and detection through the acquisition of more testing kits and establishment of additional test centres.

Others are acquisition of personnel protection equipment (PPE) for different categories of frontline personnel, enhancing contact tracking, deepening awareness creation, mobilisation of experts and trained personnel whether in service or retired.

And also, introduction of social distancing policies and banning mass gathering of over fifty (50) persons, the total ban on international travels shall commence at 12.00 midnight tonight at all our airports.

“Leaders of different faiths have been encouraged to restrict services and activities that involve mass gathering of more than fifty of their adherents.  State governments are also enforcing this policy at different levels,“ he said.

In a related development, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) on Monday called on the Chinese Government to give technical support, following 36 confirmed cases, two discharged and one death recorded. Ironically, while the Minister speaks, four new cases were unfolded, bringing the new figure to 40.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, made the plea, when the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, made a donation of medical supplies and equipment to the ministry, on Monday in Abuja.

Ehanire commended the Chinese government for winning the fight against COVID19 as businesses and organisations have been allowed to reopen.

He said that the measures implemented by the Chinese government during the outbreak would be instructive to the country in order to control the virus.

The minister said that the experience in China reinforced the importance of listening to science and public health experts during pandemic events.

He therefore, asked the Chinese government to support Nigeria with its public health experts that would aide the country to review its strategies.

He said that Nigeria would like to learn from the Chinese government on how they were able to put in place unprecedented containment and social distancing measures.

Ehanire said that the country need Mobility for contact tracing, ventilators, testing kits, and Personal Protective Equipment,(PPE), to aide the fight against COVID-19 in the country.

Earlier, Pingjian said that they would not forget sympathy and support extended by Nigeria when the Chinese people were in the most challenging stage of battling the epidemic.

“Virus respect no boarders. In the face of public health emergencies, a common challenge humanity, the most powerful weapon we have is solidarity and cooperation.

“To protect the health and wellbeing of the Nigerian people and actually all the people living in Nigeria, the authorities have been working assiduously on the epidemic response in a science based, rational and professional way from day one,” he noted.

The Ambassador said that the Chinese government have full confidence in Nigeria’s determination and capacity to defeat the virus ultimately.

He advocated for Nigerians to continue to treat the Chinese national in the country as their bothers and sisters.

“You throw a peach to me, and I give you a white jade for friendship” it is China’s traditional virtue to repay goodwill with greater kindness,”he said.

Zhou noted that China would support Nigeria in the fight against COVID19 and stand ready to assist, to the best of its capacity.

He said that despite the daunting task of epidemic control remaining in China, China would try its best to provide medical supplies to Nigeria and do whatever it would do to support the country.

“China will continue to share information and experience with Nigeria, and strengthen cooperation on containment, treatment and vaccines in response to the COVID-19 challenge, with a view to building together a community of shared health for mankind,” he said.

The items donated were, Gloves, N95 mask, Surgical mask, Shoe Cover, Head cover, Digital clinical thermometer and Hand held non-contact infrared thermometer.

Others are hand sanitizers with dispenser stands and refills, Chlorine disinfectant bleach, Disposable surgical gown, White Safety boots, liquid hand wash, Couch rolls , Tyvek suit, Goggles, laptop, desktop, Printer, copier and scanner machine.

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Maritime First