As Nigeria records 36 cases and one death from Coronavirus (Covid-19), the Federal Government says the people should brace up for tougher decisions to contain the pandemic.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who stated this at a news conference on Covid-19 in Abuja, however, assured that any decision to be taken would be in the best interest of Nigerians.
Specifically, the Minister said the Presidential Task Force on the Control of Coronavirus might consider a partial shut down in order to enforce social distancing to contain the spread and keep Nigerians safe.
Mohammed therefore appealed to Nigerians to continue to support the efforts of the government at all levels to defeat Coronavirus.
He said: “We are hoping for the best in our efforts to contain the disease, but we are prepared for the worst.
“The truth is that things may yet get worse than they are now, hence the need for all hands to be on deck.
“Tougher decisions may yet be on the way to contain this disease.
“But whatever decision is taken will be in the best interest of Nigerians.”
The Minister disclosed that the country now had a total of 36 cases and had recorded its first Coronavirus death, a 67-year-old man in Abuja, with serious underlying diseases.
He said the Presidential Task Force had directed that with immediate effect, all passengers on domestic flights are to be properly screened, just like it is done for international travelers.
He added: “All Federal schools are already shut down and the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission will be directed to close all universities, both public and private.
“While Nigeria has refused to succumb to panic in tackling this disease, it has not wavered in its preparedness.”
Mohammed recalled that the government had taken a number of measures to contain the disease, including restrictions on travel from 15 countries that had recorded more than 1,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19.
He listed the countries as: China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, the US, Norway, UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and Sweden.
According to him, government has suspended issuance of visas on arrival and has canceled those issued to nationals of the countries.
Mohammed further recalled that the government had shut down international airports in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt, and had reduce fuel price from N145 to N125 per litre following the outbreak.
He said the government had also granted credit relief of N1.1 Trillion as announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria to businesses affected by the pandemic.
The minister listed other relief measures to include the establishment of a credit facility by the CBN for households, small and medium enterprises, and reduction of interest rates for loans from nine per cent to five per cent.