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Lockdown is difficult but it will secure a better future – SGF

Secretary to the government of the federation, Boss Mustapha,  says the presidential task force on COVID-19 is aware of the difficulties associated with the lockdown but the restriction of movement is a step in the right direction.

Two weeks ago, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

There have been calls on social media for the lockdown directive to be extended on the account of an increase in the number of confirmed cases.

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As of Monday evening, a total of 323 cases had been confirmed in the country with 91 patients discharged and 10 deaths recorded.

Speaking during the daily briefing of the task force on Monday, Mustapha, who is the chairman of the force, said the lockdown would help in limiting the spread of the disease.

“We have also been assessing the impact of the lockdown and the level of compliance by Nigerians. While we recognize the difficulties associated with such unprecedented action, we remain certain, however, that it is a step in the right direction for us to secure a healthier tomorrow,” he said.

He said notwithstanding the sacrifices Nigerians have made so far, more should be done to safeguard Nigerians against COVID-19.

“​Ladies and gentlemen, since the broadcast of the President on Sunday 29th March, 2020 the Presidential Task Force has, with your support accomplished the following objectives that underpinned the measure,” he said.

“Slow down the spread in order so as not to overwhelm our fragile health system; intensified case identification, testing and isolation; intensified contact listing and isolation-( 92% of all contacts have been identified).

“Increased laboratories by 100%- (Lagos -3; Abuja-2; Irua-1; Ibadan UCH-1; Iree-1; Jos-1; Kano-1; Abakaliki-1) there are now 11 laboratories in the network

“Increased testing by 50%, to the current capacity of 1,500 tests per day, with over 6,000 tests done; procurement concluded for new high throughput testing by end of the month.

“Distributed personal protective equipment to over 40,000 healthcare workers – there have been no stockouts; trained over 7,000 healthcare workers on infection prevention and control; deployed NCDC teams to 19 states; visited Lagos to evaluate the readiness.

“​​Despite all of these, the PTF is convinced that we must deliver more. Based on the evaluation of experts, assessment of available data and experiences of other nations currently in the same situation, the PTF has submitted its recommendations to Mr. President and I urge Nigerians to please await further pronouncements in this regard.”

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He appealed to Nigerians to remain calm, maintain personal hygiene, observe physical distancing and stay at home.

Mustapha, who thanked the health workers for their sacrifices in the fight against the disease, said the task force had made some recommendations to the president.

“The war is still ragging and all hands shall remain on deck until victory is assured. The contributions of every Nigerian is invaluable,” he said.