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 briefing on Covid-19 in Abuja, however assured that whatever decision to be taken would be in the best interest of Nigerians.
Specifically, the minister said that Presidential Task Force on the Control of Coronavirus might consider a partial shutdown in order to enforce social distancing, curtail the spread and keep Nigerians safe.
He therefore appealed to Nigerians to continue to support the efforts of the government at all levels to defeat coronavirus.
“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 it is now, hence the need for all hands to be on deck.
“Tougher decisions may yet be on the way to curtail this disease. But whatever decision is taken will be in the best interest of Nigerians,” he said.
The minister disclosed that the country now has a total of 36 cases and recorded its first coronavirus death, a 67-year-old man in Abuja with serious underlying diseases.
He said the Presidential task force has directed that, with immediate effect, all passengers on domestic flights are to be properly screened, just like it is done for international travelers.
“All Federal Schools are already shut down and the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), 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,” he said
Mohammed recalled that the government had taken a number of measures to curtail the disease, including restrictions of travel from 15 countries, each with more than 1,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19.
The countries: according to him, are China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, the United States, Norway, UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and Sweden.
He said government suspended issuance of visa on arrival and canceled visas issued to nationals of the countries.
Mohammed further recalled that the government shutdown international airports in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt and reduce fuel price from N145 Naira to N125 per litre
He said the government granted credit relief of N1.1 Trillion announced by the CBN to businesses affected by the pandemic.
The minister said there was the establishment of a credit facility by the CBN for household, small and medium enterprises and reduction of interest rates for loans from nine per cent to five per cent.