COVID-19: Buhari orders compulsory use of face masks, as number of infections in Nigeria hits 45,244

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President Muhammadu Buhari has directed state governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to enforce the use of face masks in public places across the country.
The Chairman, Presidential Task force on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, made this known at the daily briefing on Thursday in Abuja.
Mustapha, while reviewing the activities of the committee, said the president also approved that the current phase of the National Response to COVID-19 should be maintained for another four weeks, but with some modifications.
“President Buhari also asked the PTF to partner with states and local governments to improve community sensitisation and engagement to step up response to the COVID-19 response.
“He also encouraged state governments to collaborate with local government authorities to intensify necessary measures such as contact tracing, grassroots mobilisation and risk communication.
“He also ordered that collaboration with other mandate groups at federal/state levels to harmonise the country’s COVID-19 response be strenghtened on the short, medium and long-term basis,” he said.
Mustapha warned against stigmatisation and skepticism among Nigerians in the fight against COVID-19.
“I wish to remind all Nigerians that this fight is for every one; everyone must take responsibility.
“Disbelief and skepticism will further complicate our situation; we should not stigmatise anyone infected. Our communities should own the response and educate our citizens,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed 354 new cases of COVID-19 in the country, bringing the total number of COVID-19 infections to 45,244.
The NCDC made this known on its official twitter handle on Thursday.
The health agency said that  three more persons had died from the disease.
According to NCDC, 45,244 cases had been confirmed, 32,430 cases discharged and 930 deaths had been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory till date.
It stated that the  354 new cases were reported from 17 states- FCT (78), Lagos (76), Kaduna (23), Ebonyi (19), Oyo (18), Nasarawa (17), Rivers (17), Delta (16), Kwara (15), Akwa Ibom (13), Edo (12), Ogun (12), Plateau (11), Kano (9), Bauchi (6), Borno (6), and Ekiti (6).
The NCDC said that a multi-sectoral national Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), activated at Level 3, had continued  to coordinate the national response activities in the country.
The NCDC had said that the public health response in the country was being strengthened to address the coronavirus.
Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General of NCDC, at the Presidential Taskforce (PTF) briefing on Thursday, said this was part of the focus of the just concluded National Council on Health meeting presided over by the Minister of Health and attended by state Health Commissioners.
Responding to a question on the ability of the NCDC to carry out effective contact tracing now that the virus was at the community transmission stage, Ihekweazu said:
“Yes, it is harder when we have community transmission but not impossible, it just means we have to deploy all resources collectively.
“At the moment, for instance, NCDC still has a team of about 40 people supporting Lagos State alone.
”That is because we recognise the size of the challenge. A third of all the cases in Nigeria is still reported in Lagos, even though, cases are declining over the last few weeks.
“Until we have a vaccine, there won’t be a point where we would say, ‘let’s relax.’ That is really out of the question.”

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