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Buhari’s COVID-19 package (2)

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 COVID-19: Buhari allays fears on restriction of food, medications
President Muhammadu Buhari

HAVING heard from President Muhammadu Buhari the measures the Federal Government is taking in partnership with states and patriotic individuals to contain the Coronavirus pandemic, there are further measures we want to see in the comings days.

We must all bear in mind that though the Federal Government and President Buhari must provide the leadership in mobilising (as it has done) the enormous institutional and financial resources at its disposal, the main hands-on fight is at the state, local government, community, family and individual levels. We must all be involved and do our part.

Awareness must continue to be drummed up through all available means. The big danger is that the vast majority of Nigerians are not fully aware that Nigeria is a potential disaster zone. Some foreign countries, such as Israel, appear to have taken proactive steps to escape a putative explosion of infections in Nigeria by evacuating their citizens.

The numbers appear very deceptive. Nigeria, being one of the seven most populous countries in the world had only 135 officially documented infections and two deaths by Monday, March 30, 2020. But with most markets and public arenas still milling with people only goodness knows what is waiting to happen.

Governments at all levels must invoke the appropriate laws and stronger measures to keep our people indoors for two weeks while leaving no stone unturned to ensure that food, water, light and fuel are accessible to the people.

It is disheartening to see that many centres where food and money were being distributed to the public in Lagos remained chaotic and very unprofessionally-handled. Lagos being the hub of infection prevalence, an explosion of cases could occur unless there is an improvement. Adequate measures must be taken to secure both the caregivers and the beneficiaries.

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Training and rules of engagement must be streamlined nationwide to ensure that volunteers, healthcare professionals and those being served are better protected.

We call on the big-time private donors to consider procuring the needed equipment and inputs and directly supplying to specified care institutions, as monetary donations risk being diverted. Government red tape can also unduly hamper procurements.

In times of war, local manufacturers are often given mandates to produce needed equipment. Any company that can produce respirators, ventilators, nose masks, alcohol-based hand sanitisers and others should be mandated and empowered to do so.

We should also endeavour to set up test centres in all the 774 local government areas through collaborative efforts. Epidemics and pandemics will always occur. We should never be caught unprepared again.

While we stay indoors, let us continue to cooperate with the government and adhere to the instructions of health experts. This is a war. It must cost each of us something before we can declare victory.

Let everybody take responsibility.


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