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COVID-19: FG may extend lockdown as 17 new cases emerge

Indications have emerged that the 14-day initial lockdown declared by President Muhammadu Buhari to curb the spread of COVID -19 may be extended following 17 new cases that were reported on Friday.

Emerging on Friday after a meeting between the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and President Buhari in Abuja, chairman of the Task Force and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha hinted that looking at what is obtained in other countries where the pandemic has claimed heavy casualty, Nigerians can only deduce what decision President Buhari would likely arrive at, because the responsibility to take such a decision squarely rests with him.

According to him, “the PTF, a small committee of us, had the privilege of further briefing Mr President on the assessment of our response to COVID-19 and, at the appropriate moment, we will continue to adequately inform Nigerians of government decisions.

“The decision on whether to extend the lockdown or not is exclusively the decision or responsibility of the President. Ours (the PTF) is to provide him with first-hand information that would inform that decision. So, I cannot speculate on that now. But looking at what is happening in other climes, you would be able to deduce what might likely happen, but I’m not in a position to speculate on that.

“I believe strongly that the information required to make that decision would be made available to Mr President, who would look at the holistic picture. It is not only the information that comes from the Presidential Task Force that would inform his decision; there are other sources of information that come to him as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and he would consider all of them in arriving at a decision.”

President Buhari on March 29 ordered a lockdown period to tackle the spread of the Coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the Friday 17 fresh cases were recorded in more diverse areas than before, with States like Lagos getting eight new cases, Katsina (3), FCT (2), Niger (1), Kaduna (1), Anambra (1) and Ondo (1), bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases IN Nigeria to 305.

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