COVID-19: We don’t have enough isolation centres for returnees — FG
THE Federal Gov- ernment said yesterday it does not have enough isolation centres to keep the high number of Nigerians in diaspora who have indicated willingness to return home. It also reiterated its warning to state governments not to relax their control measures, declaring this was not the time to play games. The government equally warned against stigmatizing patients and survivors of coronavirus, expressing concerns about possible exponential increase in infection rate as many of those currently with symptoms would prefer to remain in their closets, rather than step forward for evaluation and treatment.
Inadequate Centres The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Enyeama, who stated this at the daily briefing of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 in Abuja, said there was currently a high number of Nigerians seeking a return to the country, adding that there were not enough isolation centres to keep them for the mandatory 14 days. He said: “We have received all the numbers from our various embassies around the world. We are collating those numbers, then we have now selected two airlines that will be responsible for going to fetch them.
“The numbers are high and the places where we can isolate them are not enough for those numbers. So, we will have to do it in a target fashion. Together with the National Emergency Management Agency NEMA, NEMA, and the Ministry of Health, we will have to come to an agreement to be bringing them back according to the number of beds and other things that are available. But as I said, we have now identified the airlines and so we are almost ready to go.” Also speaking at the briefing, chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said while he advanced reasons for the frequent altercations between Nigerians and security operatives enforcing the lockdown, citizens have to be civil in communicating with operatives, adding that respect was reciprocal. He said: “Let me also advise that whenever you are outside the confines of your homes, make sure it is for very legitimate reasons covered by the exemption or within the hours relaxed for the purchase of basic items.