As COVID-19 pandemic continued to cause havoc across the country, Governors of the 36 States of the federation have agreed on Wednesday to implement an inter-State lockdown in the country over the next two weeks to mitigate the spread of coronavirus from State to State.
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, reached this agreement after receiving briefing from the Governors of Lagos, Bauchi, Oyo and Ogun States who shared their experiences and lessons from the fight against COVID-19.
A communiqe issued by the NGF chairman and governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, at the end of the sixth COVID-19 teleconference meeting, stated that only essential services would be permitted during the lockdown.
State governors called for the decentralization of the COVID-19 response as the best chance of nipping the spread of the virus in communities with over 25 States now affected by the spread of the virus and increasing evidence of community transmission.
Members of the NGF also expressed concern over the rising spread of the virus among health workers and resolved to work with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC to ensure that health workers are adequately provided with Personal Protective Equipment, PPE and are constantly trained on the use of protective gears.
This followed an update from the NGF Secretariat on the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
Governors also resolved to set up COVID-19 committees at the regional level, headed by their State Commissioners of Health in order to strengthen coordinated implementation of necessary public health recommendations across States.
According to the communique, regional committees, will continue to interface with the State Task Force Committees on COVID-19 already established in each State.
Chairman of the NGF briefed the forum on the rapidly evolving situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and coordination efforts with the federal government, multilateral and bilateral partners, and the private sector through the coalition against COVID-19.
The forum held a minute’s silence in honour of all Nigerians who had lost their lives from coronavirus, especially health workers who were in the front lines of the epidemic.
The NGF also congratulated the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, who after nearly four weeks of testing positive and observing very strict medical regime, has now received two consecutive negative test results for the coronavirus.
Members also conveyed their condolence to President Muhammadu Buhari and the people of Borno State on the passing of the Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari, who passed away on April 17, 2020 in the line of duty to the country.
It would be recalled that President Buhari currently imposed lockdown in only the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Lagos and Ogun States to halt the spread of the novel pandemic coronavirus.
Numbers of States have taken similar measures to fight the deadly virus but there is no nationwide lockdown from the federal government.
Some health experts say the country may be heading towards the need for nationwide lockdown to stop the virus.