COVID-19: FG may extend lockdown to more states
Indications emerged over the weekend that the Federal Government might extend the ongoing restriction on movements and other activities imposed almost two weeks ago.
President Muhammadu Buhari, two weeks ago, ordered a lockdown on activities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, Lagos, and the Ogun States, effective from 11 pm on Monday, March 30, for an initial period of 14 days.
According to the President in his nationwide televised broadcast, the lockdown was necessary to ensure effective containment of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 14-day lockdown would end on Monday, April 13 but there are indications that the federal government might call for an extension as developments so far had indicated that the number of persons with the virus as well as fatalities had grown in the last two weeks.
While the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 infected persons stood at 131 and two fatalities at about 9 pm on March 30th, the numbers had risen to 305 confirmed cases and seven fatalities as of 9:30 pm on April 10.
Although as at the time of filing this report, there was yet to be any known official communication as to whether the government would be extending the lockdown order, other messages from relevant quarters and the figures available suggested a possible extension of the order.
Efforts to get words from government spokespersons from the State House and the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) were unfruitful
Those contacted also said they had no information in that regard.
While the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, “no, have no information on the timeline for the lockdown,” the Director of Information in the OSGF, Mr. Willie Bassey, said, “no one knows, it depends on the advice he’d receives”.
The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force PTF on (COVID-19) Pandemic, Dr. Sani Aliyu, on Friday at the daily media briefing of the task force, warned that relaxing the lockdown and other measures now could be counter-productive.
He was reacting to reports some Governors were suggesting that their people could beat the restrictions and social distancing advice to attend churches for the Easter celebrations or gather for Jumat service.
Also, in a message he passed out to Nigerians through State House Correspondents on Saturday, Buhari reminded Nigerians that Nigeria was still in a lockdown.
He stated the measure and a few others were the only guarantees that scientists across the world had prescribed as the only way for the human race to survive the pandemic.