United States (U.S.) President Donald Trump ordered his government to give support to coronavirus-hit Italy, in a memorandum published late on Friday.
“Italy, one of our closest and oldest allies, is being ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Trump wrote in the memo.
Although the U.S. government’s “first and foremost responsibility is to the American people,” helping Italy will help mitigate the impact of the crisis, and demonstrate U.S. leadership, he wrote.
Trump ordered U.S. military personnel stationed in Italy to be made available to help set up field hospitals and transport supplies, fuel and food.
The order added that Italians who need medical care unrelated to the COVID-19 illness caused by the virus may be treated in U.S. military medical facilities.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was asked to encourage U.S. suppliers to deliver necessary supplies, such as medical equipment, as requested by the Italian authorities.
Italy had the highest death toll from coronavirus in the world as of Friday, with 18,849 fatalities, according to the country’s Civil Protection Agency.
The U.S. followed closely, with 18,769 recorded deaths as of early Saturday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed 17 new cases of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the country, bringing the total number of infections recorded so far to 305.
NCDC, through its verified Twitter account on Friday night, said of the 17 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Nigeria, eight are in Lagos, three in Katsina, two in FCT, one in Niger, one in Kaduna, one in Anambra, one in Ondo.
The agency said as at 09:30 p.m April 10, there were 305 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Nigeria. 58 have been discharged with seven deaths recorded.
NCDC said that three cases previously included as Lagos State cases have been transferred to Ogun State.
“The three cases live in satellite towns in Ogun close to Lagos.
“Therefore, Lagos State has reported 163 confirmed cases, while Ogun State has reported seven confirmed cases,” it said.
Lagos remains the epicentre with 163, and 56 cases in FCT, 20 in Osun, 12 in Edo, 11 in Oyo, 11 in Bauchi, 6, Akwa Ibom 5 and Kastina 4, Kaduna, 6, in Ogun, 7, 2 each in Enugu, Ekiti, Delta, Kwara and Rivers, and 1 each in Benue, Niger, Anambra and Ondo.
NCDC said that currently they have 17 rapid response teams supporting states in the response to COVID-19.
Through it responses to COVID-19, the agency said it is working hard to change the narrative in Africa.
The agency noted that it remains in full support of the healthcare workers, who are critical in the COVID-19 pandemic response.
NCDC said the officials were doing the best to learn about the new virus and also health workers were working very hard.
The agency urged religious and traditional leaders to communicate accurate information on the COVID-19 pandemic to their followers.
It noted that as Nigerians look forward to the Easter celebration, they should continue to ‘TakeResponsibility’ in the prevention and control of the virus.
Major streets in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, were deserted on Friday evening as the total lockdown of the state announced by the government took effect.
The state government ordered a total lockdown in all the 16 local government areas of the state to curtail the spread of the dreaded coronavirus pandemic.
Kwara has recorded two cases of the COVID-19 currently receiving treatment at Sobi Specialist Hospital, while the Technical Committee on COVID-19 are tracing 80 persons that may have contact with the index cases.
At 5.30p.m., people were rushing back home to beat the 6 p.m. deadline for the commencement of the lockdown
Security agents were also seen on major roads and junctions to enforce the lockdown.
At the A Division Roundabout, policemen and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were stationed to enforce the order.
Roads were barricaded at Challenge, Post Office roundabout and Maraba junctions where motorists with no genuine reasons to be on the road were stopped, while some were turned back.
Many commuters were also stranded and had to trek the distance to their homes.
Petrol stations and medicine stores were also shut down, despite the exception extended to them.
A patent medicine seller on Muritala Mohammed Road, simply called Mummy Adizat said she has to close her shop for fear of being arrested for flouting the lockdown order.
She said she would open her shop on Saturday if she was convinced that police would not harass medicine sellers.