Coronavirus: Why FG may extend lockdown – Minister

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The Minister of Information and Orientation, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Friday said the Federal Government would extend the lockdown if Lagos and Ogun states as well as the Federal Capital Territory if Nigerians refuse to stay at home, observe social distancing and shun gatherings.

The Minister who issued the threat in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja, advised Nigerians in these areas to respect the two-week lockdown within which government would trace persons who had made contacts with the 210 positive Coronavirus cases recorded so far.

On Friday the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control said two more persons had died from the disease, bringing the number to four.

He said: “If we don’t behave ourselves, there is a likelihood that the lockdown will be extended. But if we behave ourselves, there might not be an extension and I hope we do so,” he said at an interview session with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

He added: “If we stay at home for two weeks and we are doing everything we are supposed to do, we should be able to effectively contain the disease.

“Therefore, my appeal to Nigerians is that they should obey the directive on social distancing, personal hygiene and shun gatherings. After two weeks, we will resume our normal life.

“But if they think it is a joke, then we may have to stay at home more than the two weeks.”

Mohammed also said government would my release the corpses of fatalities to their families.

Coronavirus is very dangerous and contagious; there is no medicine for it yet and it is not just capable of killing, overwhelming health care system but it will destroy the economy,” he said.

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“In some countries, they are putting dead bodies in big refrigerators because the morgues have filled up.

“Nigerians should not forget that this is not the type of corpses that can be claimed for burial because it must be handled by the Ministry of Health,” he stated

He also noted that the Federal Government had appealed to state governors to provide bed spaces to take care f Coronavirus cases in their domains.

The Minister said the Federal taskforce on the disease, to which he belongs, had not received any funds from the N15 billion so far donated by individuals and corporate organisations.