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Govs’ Forum seeks national lockdown

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GOVERNORS of the 36 States of Nigeria yesterday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the stay-at-home order in FCT Abuja as well as Lagos and Ogun States for two more weeks. They also urged him to declare a lockdown throughout the entire country given the fast spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

  This, they reason, will mitigate the spread of the pandemic COVID-19 virus from state to state.

  The governor made the call under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).

  A communiqué issued by the NGF Chairman and governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, at the end of the sixth COVID-19 teleconference meeting of NGF stated that only essential services would be permitted across country during the lockdown.

  According to the governors, decentralisation of the COVID-19 response is the best chance of nipping the spread of the virus to communities. With over 25 states now affected by the spread of the virus and increasing evidence of community transmission, they felt the action should be taken now.

  Members of the NGF also expressed serious concern over the rising spread of the virus among health workers and resolved to work with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to ensure that health workers are “adequately” provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) and are “constantly” trained on the use of protective gears. This followed an update from the NGF Secretariat on the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

  Governors also resolved to set up COVID-19 committees at the regional level, headed by their State Commissioners of Health in order to strengthen coordinated implementation of necessary public health recommendations across states. regional committees, the communique added, will continue to interface with the State Task Force Committees on COVID-19 already established in each State.

  The NGF Chairman briefed the forum on the rapidly evolving situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and coordination efforts with the federal government, multilateral and bilateral partners, and the private sector through the Coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID).

The forum held a minute’s silence in honour of all Nigerians who had lost their lives from coronavirus, especially health workers who were in the front lines of the epidemic as well as congratulating Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, who after nearly four weeks of testing positive and observing very strict medical regime, has now received two consecutive negative test results for the coronavirus.

  It would be recalled that President Buhari currently imposed lockdown in only the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and Ogun States to halt the spread of the novel pandemic coronavirus. But as at Tuesday, 21 April, 2020, the official cases in the country stand at 782.

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