Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed, has issued a stern warning to Lagosians and residents of Abuja and Ogun State saying the government could extend the 14-day lockdown announced by President Muhammadu Buhari if residents don’t behave themselves by respecting the lockdown order.
“If we don’t behave ourselves, there is a likelihood that the lockdown will be extended, but if we behave ourselves, there might not be an extension and I hope we do so,” Mohammed, who is a member of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, told a forum in Abuja when he featured to give an update on government efforts at containing the deadly pandemic.
The Minister added: “If we stay at home for two weeks and we are doing everything we are supposed to do, we should be able to effectively contain the disease. Therefore, my appeal to Nigerians is that they should obey the directive on social distancing, personal hygiene and shun gatherings; after two weeks, we will resume our normal life. But if they think it is a joke, then we may have to stay at home more than the two weeks.”
Mohammed also disclosed that the Federal Government was planning to meet with indigenous manufacturers to discuss and facilitate the local production of Personal Protective Equipment, to enhance the fight against the coronavirus. He said the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnibe Mamora, and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments, Adeniyi Adebayo, would meet with the manufacturers on behalf of the government.
He said that the move had become necessary in view of the shortage of the equipment and the need to encourage and develop local manufacturing of medical equipment. He said, “PPE is in short supply globally and we want to see how we can start manufacturing them locally. All over the world, people are making mask locally because there is a short supply of masks.
“Those ones we got from Jack Ma have been shared with the states. We call them starter packs and they contain masks and test kits. We have given them to states according to their needs. Naturally, Lagos got more because it is the epicenter of the virus. We are trying to source the PPE more locally, but one thing about PPE is that if you don’t get it right, you may lose more lives,” he noted.
The Minister also disclosed that the corpses of persons who died of COVID-19 cannot be claimed for burial. He said such corpses would be handled by the ministry of health because they are contagious.