President Muhammadu Buhari has approved immediate release of a N10 billion grant to Lagos State, which remains the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak in Nigeria and N5 billion special intervention fund to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to equip, expand and provide personnel to its facilities and laboratories across the country.

The president said this in a statement Garba Shehu, his spokesman, issued on his behalf on Thursday night.

“With developing news around the world and in Nigeria on the Coronavirus pandemic, President Buhari issues the following statement: I advise all Nigerians to follow to the letter the health guidelines issued by the Federal Ministry of Health and our State Governments,” Shehu said.

“Wash your hands thoroughly many times throughout the day. Observe ‘social distancing’ of a minimum of two metres. Do not make unnecessary journeys outside of your homes. Do not attend public meetings or public gatherings – including religious events – which is where, through social contact, the virus can easily be transmitted.

“The Federal Ministry of Health will continue to issue daily updates on all developments. Please refer to public announcements by the Ministry on radio, television, web at www.health.gov.ng and Twitter at @Fmohnigeria.

“With regard to the request by the government of Lagos State for financial support to combat and contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Lagos and Nigeria, the President has already approved the sum of N10 billion which release was effected within two days of the request.”

Shehu added that the president has also approved and ensured the prompt release of N5 billion special intervention requested by the NCDC to equip and expand their facilities and laboratories.

“In the the same vein, the President has given approval to NCDC’s request for an aircraft from the Presidential Air Fleet for emergency situations. He has furthermore authorized the evacuation of three critical members of the NCDC team who are stuck in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo where they went for a World Health Organisation (WHO) training,” he said.

“These measures are in addition to the ones approved and announced by the Presidential Task Force, PTF including the closure of land borders to human traffic for four weeks; the conversion of all Hajj transit camps to be utilized as COVID-19 isolation centers; the directive that all non-essential government employees to work from home and for a daily briefing of the nation through the PTF.

“Other approved measures already put into place include the ban of flights from and into the country, suspension of the Federal Executive Council and National Council States meetings and a directive for engagements, at the highest levels between the Federal Government and the state governments.

“President Buhari has also directed for the escalation of the nation’s capacity for testing and detection with the acquisition of testing kits and establishment of additional test centers; acquisition of Personnel Protection Equipment and the mobilization of experts and trained staff serving and recall of some of those retired.

“The President is keeping a close eye on international developments on the spread of COVID-19 and will intensify or introduce new measures if they become necessary to protect Nigerians.”

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