President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered that an initial two-week lockdown of Kano State be extended by an additional two weeks. Kano has recorded over 700 coronavirus cases in the past three weeks, and the government is determined to contain the outbreak in the state.
The president had initially imposed a lockdown on the state on April 27, 2020 to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) which grew rapidly.
Despite the lockdown, Kano has recorded over 700 cases in the past three weeks, with a total of 825 cases as of May 17.
The chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, announced on Monday, May 18 that Buhari has approved an extension so as to interrupt the spread of the outbreak.
When quizzed on why a lockdown was not imposed on Lagos which has recorded the most cases with 2,550, Mustapha said Lagos has already gone through a total lockdown that lasted five weeks.
He said, “Simple reason, we do not want Kano figures to escalate, and be in competition with the figures in Lagos.
“The only way you can do that is to reduce and interrupt the processes of community transition that was hitherto in Kano, and known even to the health facilities in Kano.”
Mustapha, who’s also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), said the lockdown is not designed to punish the people of Kano, but to safeguard lives and protect them from further infections and transmissions while the government builds capacity to contain the outbreak in the state.
President Buhari also ordered that precision lockdown be implemented in areas recording high rates of coronavirus infections in the country.
Without providing details, Mustapha said the lockdown will be implemented in states, or in metropolitan and high-burden local government areas that are reporting a rapidly increasing number of cases, when the need arises.
Buhari also approved an aggressive scaling up of efforts to ensure communities are informed, engaged, and participating in the response with enhanced public awareness in high-risk areas.
Mustapha appealed to Nigerians to continue to adhere to preventive measures announced by authorities to contain the spread of the virus as it may likely not go away any time soon.
“Nigeria is not where we wish to be in terms of control, ownership, infrastructure, and change of behaviour. We must do more,” he said.
A total of 5,959 cases have been recorded in 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, as of May 17.
While 1,594 patients have recovered and been discharged, 182 people have died.