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National Tension As Buhari Orders 4,000 Coronavirus Tests Daily, 9,029 contacts traced

*FG takes delivery of UN medical supplies

*Urges banks to make cash available to Nigerians

*IG warns officers enforcing lockdown against taking bribe Students to receive lectures via NTA, FRCN

President Muhammadu Buhari has mandated the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to conduct 4,000 tests per day.

NCDC Director-General, Chikwe Ihekweazu, disclosed this yesterday at the 11th joint national briefing of the Presidential Taskforce Force on COVID-19, he said Buhari had mandated the NCDC to increase testing in Lagos to 2,000; FCT, 1,000 and the rest of Nigeria, 1,000 per day.

He said:

"We now have the capacity to test 1,500 people per day across the network. This capacity is not being fully utilized at the moment.

The challenge right now is not the laboratory testing capacity, it is how active our public workforce is in identifying samples, collecting and sending them for testing.

"We have sufficient capacity to test 1,500 right now and we're not close to exhausting that capacity every day. But from today, we've to push even harder.

Our target following Mr. President's speech is to get 2,000 samples per day in Lagos, 1,000 in Abuja and 1,000 for the rest of the country.

"…The challenge is no longer with the labs, the challenge is in collecting samples from those identified as suspect cases."

He said the goal of the lockdown was not to completely stop the outbreak, saying that would be difficult, but to show that Nigeria could maintain sufficient levels of public health response within the context of a slowly-calibrated reopening of the economy.

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said the government had made significant progress in contact tracing of coronavirus and had so far followed up 9,029 persons of interest, 99 percent of whom had exceeded their 14-day observation period.

He said the government had early evidence of community transmission of COVID-19 in the country. He said the government would build isolation points near the nation's entry points and borders to screen and isolate infected Nigerians for 14 days under government supervision.

He confirmed that the United Nations' medical equipment and supplies, including 50 ventilators, had arrived Nigeria. National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, urged commercial banks to make cash available, especially at ATMs, to ease the burden of the COVID-19 extension lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the FCT. The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, warned officers enforcing lockdown against taking bribe.

He said security personnel had no enough masks and other protective wears. The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, said plans were being made for students in the nation's tertiary institutions to receive lectures via the Nigeria Television Authority and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria.

"Some of my tertiary institutions are already giving their lessons, some online, and the ministry is working with the Nigeria Television Authority and the FRCN to start giving lectures, not just because of COVID-19, I hope this would become a permanent feature of our education system.

"Lessons would be given online. Last time I met with the vice-chancellors, I even talked to the press and told them I have directed institutions of higher learning to start thinking of giving people lessons where they are.

I am also aware that there are some private institutions who are already giving lessons online," Adamu said.

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