All the 36 governors in Nigeria have agreed to implement a 14-day nationwide shutdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus in Africa’s most populous nation.
Local newspapers reported on Wednesday night local time that the governors agreed to implement an inter-state lockdown over the next two weeks to curb the spread of COVID-19 from state to state.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Most people who catch it survive but for the minority of people, especially those with underlying medical conditions or suffering from obesity, it can be deadly as it attacks the lungs and forces patients to be intubated, meaning they find it hard to breathe on their own and need a ventilator to help them breathe.
The New York Times, quoting the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that there are only about 2000 functioning ventilators in Africa to serve 1.2 billion people.
The solution, WHO has repeatedly said, is containment and not mitigation that can lead to the need of many ventilators.
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), the body representing Nigerian governors, said it reached the agreement to lockdown the country after receiving briefings from the governors of Lagos, Bauchi, Oyo and Ogun states who shared their experiences and lessons from the fight against COVID-19.
The NGF chairman and governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, said in a communique released at the end of the sixth COVID-19 teleconference meeting that only essential services would be permitted during the lockdown.
The communique quoted the governors as calling for the decentralization of the COVID-19 response, saying that it was the best chance to beat the respiratory disease that has now spread to 25 of 36 Nigerian states.
“Members of the NGF also voiced serious 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,” northern Nigeria-based newspaper Daily Trust said.
“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. Regional committees, the communique added, will continue to interface with the State Task Force Committees on COVID-19 already established in each State,” the report added.