The Federal Government is considering a ban on inter-state and inter-town travels, to curb the spread of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) across the country. This is just as the number of confirmed cases rise to 51 Wednesday night.
Lai Mohammed, minister of information and Culture, who made this known in Abuja on Thursday, said the federal government is also considering closing all motor parks and inter-state rail stations.
The minister added that the government may use fire fighting and other adaptable vehicles and personnel to fumigate cities and towns across the country.
The minister said strategies already taken by the Federal Government to curb the spread of the disease were not adequate and hence the need for tougher measures.
The minister further disclosed that the government would be more aggressive in enforcing the measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus, such as; Social distancing, Contact tracing, Testing, Isolation of suspected cases and ensuring that messaging gets down to the grassroots
“The truth is that time is running out. If we don’t urgently and more aggressively enforce the measures I have just listed, we have a short window within which to stop this pandemic or face an explosion in terms of the cases. We cannot afford to be complacent,” the minister said.
“In view of this, we are considering tougher measures to enforce compliance, stop the exportation of the disease to states that do not have it and minimise the spread,” he added.
Mohammed said there are 4,370 people of interest whom government is tracing. “We urge those who have had contact with suspected cases to immediately report to the authorities. We urge Nigerians to support the authorities in this regard. We are on the verge of reaching the level of community spread. We must stop this immediately or we will record exponential cases in the days ahead. There is no better way to say this,” the minister warned.
Mohammed further announced that government was also taking measures to increase the number of bed spaces for isolation of suspects.
According to him, the facilities available include the 40-bed DSS Hotel, the 60-bed Medical Centre in Zuba and the 160-bed Women Development Centre in Abuja.
“We are still looking at other facilities within the Federal Capital Territory,” he said.
Mohammed, however, expressed concerns that Nigerians are not giving government the needed cooperation. He said many were busy engaging in meaningless criticisms instead of complying with the stipulated directives to keep people safe.
He added that some Nigerians who flew
into the country from overseas filled wrong addresses and phone numbers in their forms, making it difficult to trace them when the need arises.
“Some Nigerians defied orders to stay away from large gatherings while some religious leaders wilfully flouted the directives to ensure social distancing. The government is doing its best but we need the citizens to do their best too. We have now gone past the stage of persuasion. It’s time for strong enforcement,” the minister said.
He, therefore, urged those who have had contact with suspected cases to immediately report to the authorities.
The monster further described as fake news the reports that there are only two ventilators in Abuja, out of which one has been commandeered for a top government official, that a British Airways Flight was due to land in Nigeria on Wednesday despite the closure of all international airports, and that President Muhammadu Buhari has been coughing and is now on ventilator.
He urged Nigerians avoid spreading fake news.