President Muhammadu Buhari has announced the extension of the lockdown of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and Lagos and Ogun States to contain the spread of the Coronavirus Disease in the country.
Buhari announced this in a nationwide broadcast to the nation on Monday.
The President, who thanked Nigerians for their level of compliance of the initial lockdown by the Federal Government and various State Governments, thanked Nigerians for the sacrifice being made.
He specifically thanked traditional rulers, Christian Association of Nigeria, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, public spirited individuals and the media, said a lot had been achieved in the 14 days initial lockdown.
He said 92 per cent of contacts of those who had come down with COVID-19 had been achieved, adding that the country’s testing capacity had been raised to 1,500 per day.
Buhari said Lagos State and Abuja can admit 1,000 patients each, with similar centres to be built near the country’s land and air borders.
He said healthcare workers had also been provided with Personal Protective Equipment, adding that the hope “is that we do not have to use this centres”.
The President, however, expressed concern over the increase in number of patients worldwide and in Nigeria.
He said as at March 30, 2020 when he first announced the lockdown in Nigeria, over 780,000 cases were reported worldwide, but that as he addressed the nation on Monday night, the figure had risen to over 1,850,000.
He said the death toll two weeks ago was over 70,000, but now far higher, with most developed nations now overwhelmed.
In the case of Nigeria, he said there were 131 cases in 12 states on March 30, but by the morning of today, there were now morning, 323 confirmed cases in 20 states, with Lagos accounting for 54 per cent.
Buhari therefore said: “Our approach to the virus remains in 2 steps – First, to protect the lives of our fellow Nigerians and residents living here and second, to preserve the livelihoods of workers and business owners.
“With this in mind and having carefully considered the briefings and Report from the Presidential Task Force and the various options offered, it has become necessary to extend the current restriction of movement in Lagos and Ogun States as well as the FCT for another 14 days effective from 11:59 pm on Monday, 13th of April, 2020. I am therefore once again asking you all to work with Government in this fight.
“This is not a joke. It is a matter of life and death. Mosques in Makkah and Madina have been closed. The Pope celebrated Mass on an empty St. Peter’s Square. The famous Notre Dame cathedral in Paris held Easter Mass with less than 10 people. India, Italy and France are in complete lockdown. Other countries are in the process of following suit. We cannot be lax.
“The previously issued guidelines on exempted services shall remain.
“This is a difficult decision to take, but I am convinced that this is the right decision. The evidence is clear.
“The repercussions of any premature end to the lockdown action are unimaginable.
“We must not lose the gains achieved thus far. We must not allow a rapid increase in community transmission. We must endure a little longer.”