Scientists have called on the federal government to order a lockdown of Nigeria to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
The National Academy of Science, which acts as a scientific advisor to the Federal Government of Nigeria, made the call in a statement by its president, Mosto Onuoha.
Mr Onuoha said the lockdown should be national, with uniform regulations, and led by the federal government.
Onuoha, who is a professor, said the country should be locked down for four weeks to reduce the number of new importations of COVID-19.
“In 4 weeks, virtually all COVID-19 cases and contacts should have been discovered or should have recovered.
“It is now time for a national lockdown, especially now that the disease has invaded the highest level of our governance threatening our national security! While the effort of individual state governments is lauded, with a lockdown, all citizens are required (as much as possible) to stay at home leaving room only for essential activities that allow for basic functions such as feeding and accessing health care,” he said.
Onuoha said since most of the confirmed cases are imported, and a few being contacts of the imported cases, Nigeria is beginning to have cases with unclear infection sources, “this suggests the possible existence of community transmission and needs to be curtailed early.”
“It is unclear how widespread the disease might be in the country given the evolving number of cases at this point, and the difficulty in tracking their movements and those of their contacts,” he said.
ActionAid Nigeria made call earlier
The ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) had, last night, urged the federal government to lockdown the country, except those on essential services for the next 14 days to fast-track the efforts of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Control of coronavirus (Covid-19) in combating the spread of the virus.
The AAN Country Director, Ene Obi, in a statement in Abuja, commended some of the steps taken by the PTF on the control of Covid-19 thus far, but that more needed to be done quickly and promptly.
“With the cases of infected persons increasing from three to 36 within a week, Nigeria needs to be ready for the worst-case scenario.
“Unfortunately, the concept of social distancing and self-isolation remains a mirage to many Nigerians. The average Nigerian, particularly those offline and at the grassroot are still ignorant and lack the basic safeguarding information on symptoms and prevention of the spread of the virus.”
No entry in Rivers
Earlier today, the River State Government announced that air, sea and land routes into the state will be closed to traffic, beginning from 6am, Thursday, March 26, 2020.
This is a move to check the spread of coronavirus to Rivers State, according to the government.
In a broadcast, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, said that the measure became necessary in view of recent developments.
Coronavirus in Nigeria
The COVID-19 has killed over 15,000 people globally, the majority of them in Europe and China.
In Nigeria, there are 46 cases of COVID-19, including one death.
Some states have already placed restrictions on public gatherings, including in churches and mosques.
Lagos, Nigeria’s most affected state with COVID-19, has also said it would shut markets from Thursday except for essential products.
The federal government has asked civil servants from level 1-12 to work from home.