By Nofisat Marindoti
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has urged the media both social and traditional to desist from spreading fake and damaging news as the country battles with the contagious Coronavirus.
He stated that the news making the rounds that President Muhammadu Buhari has been coughing and is now on ventilator is nothing but fake.
The Minister said this during a press conference in Abuja on Thursday.
He added that other fake news treading include that there are only two ventilators in Abuja, out of which one has been commandeered for a top government official and that a British Airways Flight was due to land in Nigeria on Wednesday despite the closure of all international airports.
Speaking on the government's strategies towards curtailing the dangerous disease, Mohammed said the federal government is determined to be more aggressive in enforcing the measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus, such as: Social distancing, Contact tracing, Testing, isolation of suspected cases and ensuring that our messaging gets down to the grassroot.
"Fentlemen, I don't intend to sound apocalyptic. But the truth is that time is running out. If we don't urgently and more aggressively enforce the measures I have just listed, we have a short window within which to stop this pandemic or face an explosion in terms of the cases. We cannot afford to be complacent.
"In view of this, we are considering tougher measures to enforce compliance, stop the exportation of the disease to states that do not have it and minimize spread. Possible measures include: Stopping inter-state/inter-town travels, except for essential services, Closing all motor parks and inter-state rail stations. Already, all train movements nationwide have been stopped and Using fire fighting and other adaptable vehicles and personnel to fumigate
cities and towns.
"We will be considering and announcing new measures from time to time, but rest assured that whatever decisions we take will be in the best interest of Nigerians."
Mohammed also confirmed the arrival of the safety and test kits from the Jack Ma Foundation in China. The supplies are: 100,000 Face Masks, 1,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and 20,000 test kits.
He also announced that the country is presently 4370 people and thereby urged people who have had contact with suspected cases to report to the authorities immediately.