The Nigerian government, has explained through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, why the lockdown measure would not be relaxed as it fights to contain the escalating coronavirus pandemic.
A lockdown of the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun states for 14 days was ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari on March 29 to curb the spread of the dreaded virus; and so has some state governors.
The president has since extended the lockdown by two weeks as the number of COVID-19 cases increased.
So far, the coronavirus had spread to 26 states, as well as Abuja, with total recorded cases across the country by the NCDC at 1095, with 208 discharged and 32 dead.
80 in Lagos, 21 in Gombe, 5 in Abuja, 2 in Zamfara, 2 in Edo, 1 in Ogun, 1 in Oyo, 1 in Kaduna and 1 in Sokoto, is the the record of new cases.
However, at a press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director-General of the NCDC, stated that it was not yet time to relax the lockdown.
He said: “Although the lockdown was having negative effects on the economy as it is impeding Nigerians’ ability to go about their daily activities, it is vital to be patient and endure the lockdown further to ensure a safe and healthy society when the economy would be reopened.
“We will eventually exit this stage and restart our normal life but that stage is still a while to come and I ask for your endurance, support and patience. Lots of efforts are going on across the world to find new therapy, to find vaccine.
“Everybody is pushing hard along this direction. We need unprecedented level of caution to continue carrying out the preventive measure that we have advised many times on this platform.
“Many families have not been able to bury their dead, rescheduled their marriages and baptism and everything they are doing. In a way, life is in suspense. Everyone recognises the sacrifice Nigerians have made but we really have to encourage one another to continue to a position where we can relax some of that (lockdown) but until we get to that place, we have to continue in the short term.
“We are working hard to reach a point where we can relax some of these measures but we are not there yet. We ask you to join us to continue this journey with us and amplify these messages that we are giving. We are happy to have the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress here with us today (Friday).”
“Citizens must remember that the most vulnerable people were the elderly and people with other illnesses.
“We must protect them. In protecting them, if they are living in the village, leave them there and support them with whatever resources you have. But please, now is not the time to encourage travelling.”