Apparently wary of the impending danger the global pandemic poses to the country’s economy and social life, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday directed the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to double efforts to flatten the curve on Coronavirus as quick as possible in order to break the chain of a looming community transmission.
He gave the directive from his office in Aso Rock during a video conference with members of the taskforce.
Since coronavirus spreads on an exponential level, the president had ordered a two-week lockdown in Abuja Lagos and Ogun States, which he again extended for another 14 days, to ensure social distancing with a view to slowing the acceleration of the spread of the virus.
The lockdown in these parts of the country as well as other states where the governors had adopted the measures put in place by the federal government is impacting negatively on the country’s economy, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicting on Tuesday that Nigeria’s economy this year will witness the worst recession in 30 years
Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, who is chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, gave the hint of the president’s directive while speaking with State House correspondents yesterday.
He said, “In the last two weeks we have been able to go to where we are now and the president is conscious of the fact that we need to flatten the curve as quickly as possible and be able to trace, find the people, conduct as numerous tests as we can and try as much as possible to break the chain of any community transmission.
“I can’t assure you that there won’t be transmission; there will definitely be transmission but if we are able to get ahead of it then we can deal with it decisively.
“Some of the new measures that the President has introduced include asking a committee to look at how the economy will operate within the context of COVID-19 and the other one is for the Presidential Task Force to work hand in hand with the minister of Agriculture and the committees on food security and fertilizer to ensure that the adverse effect of COVID-19 on farming is reduced to the barest minimum.
“This is because the truth about it is that our people need to go back to their farms so that we are able to raise sufficient food for the people of the country. The strength of a nation is in its ability to feed itself.”
The SGF appealed to Nigerians to be more patient as government adopts measures that would help contain the virus and ensure their safety.