By Rotimi Ijikanmi
The Federal Government says it will meet with indigenous manufacturers to discuss and facilitate the local production of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), to enhance the fight against the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), pandemic ravaging the world.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this in Abuja when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum, to give an update on government efforts at containing the pandemic.
Mohammed said that the the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnibe Mamora, and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments, Mr Adeniyi Adebayo, would meet with the manufacturers on behalf of the government.
He said that the move had become necessary in view of the shortage of the equipment and the need to encourage and develop local manufacturing of medical equipment.
“PPE is in short supply globally and we want to see how we can start manufacturing them locally .
“All over the world, people are making mask locally because there is a short supply of masks.
“Those ones we got from Jack Ma have been shared to the states.
“We call them starter packs and they contain masks and test kits. We have given them to states according to their needs.
“Naturally, Lagos got more because it is the epicenter of the virus.
“We are trying to source the PPE more locally, but one thing about PPE is that if you don’t get it right, you may lose more lives,” he said.
Speaking on whether or not the two weeks lockdown directed by the government could be extended, the minister said it was dependent on how Nigerians behaved themselves.
“If we don’t behave ourselves, there is likely that the lockdown will be extended, but if we behave ourselves, there might not be extension and I hope we do so.
“If we stay at home for two weeks and we are doing everything we are supposed to do, we should be able to effectively contain the disease.
“Therefore, my appeal to Nigerians is that they should obey the directive on social distancing, personal hygiene and shun gatherings; after two weeks, we will resume our normal life.
“But if they think it is a joke, then we may have to stay at home more than the two weeks,” he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in a national broadcast, had directed the cessation of all movement in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States for an initial period of 14 days effective 11p.m. of March 30.
He said that all citizens in the affected areas are to stay at home, adding that the containment period would be used to identify, trace and isolate individuals that had come in contact with confirmed cases.
“The idea is to restrict further spread of the pandemic,” Mohammed stressed. (NAN)