COVID-19: People smuggled in trucks out of Lagos – FG

National Coordinator, Presidential Taskforce Force on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, says people are being smuggled out of Lagos State in trucks.

Speaking at a briefing of the task force in Abuja yesterday, he said inter-state travels were worsening the community transmission of coronavirus.

“We’ve noticed that community spread is now being traced to people travelling across state borders. We need to try and restrict our movements in order to stop the spread of this Coronavirus infection. This is particularly pertinent with regards to the news of people being smuggled in trucks out of Lagos.

“I’d like to highlight the need for donors to safeguard lives and basic health protocols during the distribution of palliatives within local communities. It’s important they maintain health and safety,” he said.He described the rise of aggressive behaviour and non-conformity to physical distancing as unacceptable and a major risk to communities.

“It is serious public safety concern,” Aliyu emphasised.

He advised Nigerians to take the lockdown directive serious, noting the fight to beat back to pandemic in the country depends largely on how much the public respect the guidelines issued by the PTF.

He urged donors of palliative materials to observe basic health and safety protocols, and to rather work through local authorities to make processes orderly and less hazardous.

He said, “I enjoin donors to work closely with local authorities and to ensure that the mass gathering restrictions and the physical distancing guidance that we have given is abided by.”

He also reminded donors, who already had planned to support the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, of the need to work through the PTF, ensure that items and resources being donated are relevant to needs and also to ensure that goods being donated are not below standards.

He urged state governments to adhere to the acquisition of standard supplies, especially on the procurement of protective gears for the frontline healthcare workers in their states.

He said the PTF would soon come out with standard guidelines, which would derive from global and World Health Organisation standards, for the equipment and protective gears expected to be provided to tackle the virus in the country.

Aliyu asked survivors to be bold and come out to tell their stories, at their own discretion, saying this would help reduce the rising public stigma and discrimination against victims and survival which he identified as a major concern in the fight against the disease.

Meanwhile, NCDC Director-General, Chikwe Ihekweazue, while featuring on a Channels Television programme, Sunrise Daily, yesterday, said COVID-19 would reach almost every state.

He said: “We’re responding to something, at the moment, across 22 states. But it’ll grow to almost every state in Nigeria. There’s no reason it won’t. It’s a respiratory virus.

“So, what we’re trying to achieve right now, in the short term, is not to stop transmission because we know that will be very difficult to do. No country in the world has achieved that.”.

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