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COVID-19: Fears escalate of a “total lockdown” in Nigeria

Nigeria is heading for a total lockdown as the coronavirus pandemic escalates across the globe. The federal government yesterday said Nigerians should be ready for tougher measures to contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19, reports Daily Trust in its latest edition.

It directed civil servants from grade level 12 and below to stay at home from Tuesday (today) until further notice. This was contained in a circular signed by the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, titled ‘Compulsory stay at home of non-essential public servants on grade level 12 and below.’

The circular said, “Government is concerned about the welfare and safety of all public servants just as it is about other Nigerians.

“All public servants are, therefore, strongly advised to follow the measures being put in place by government to curtail the spread of the pandemic.

“All other categories of officers who will be at work are strongly advised to limit the number of visitors they receive to the barest minimum,” the circular said.

Earlier, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, while addressing newsmen in Abuja, said the Presidential Task Force on the Control of Coronavirus led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, had recommended some tougher measures.

“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,” Mohammed said.

He said if the country wanted to control the pandemic, then the citizens must also be prepared to suffer some inconveniences. The minister said though the issue of market closure was under the purview of state and local governments, closing them should not be done without proper planning.

“We must not forget that a huge percentage of our economy is informal – people who go out every day to make a living. If such people are not allowed to go out every day, you might have unintended consequences. We are studying every option, but we will not rush to take decisions that will lead to another pandemic,” he said.

Mohammed lamented that the government’s effort to fight the pandemic was being undermined by fake news and disinformation, urging Nigerians to visit the website or social media platforms of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control for genuine, up-to-date information.

“Suddenly, coronavirus pundits are popping up everywhere, in particular on WhatsApp, prescribing choloroquine (which has not been approved for treating coronavirus), garlic, and hot bath, as the cure-all for the disease. We implore Nigerians to follow the directives from the relevant authorities,” he said.

He also decried some religiou

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