By Ephraims Sheyin
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), has established a Special Situation Room to coordinate coverage, monitor developments and document activities on the dreaded Coronavirus
According to its Acting Managing Director, Alhaji Biola Lawal, the facility is expected to monitor, capture and document developments on the scourge as they evolve “minute-by-minute”, to assist government efforts.
He said that the facility was being positioned to support the Presidential Task Force for the Control of COVID-19 as the body battles to contain the pandemic and totally eliminate it from Nigeria.
“The facility is also expected to be an Information Bank on the pandemic. Ultimately, data obtained and stocked into the facility will be a guide on how to manage similar situations.
“We also figure that data gathered from the facility may offer materials for researchers seeking to write books on the pandemic and its impact on Nigeria and Nigerians,” Lawal told NAN in Abuja.
He said that information from the facility would also be useful in the search for a lasting solution to the pandemic and help the nation’s leaders to always be ready for such “sudden plagues”.
“We also figure that unborn generations may need such data even as a history material for reference. It will also help them to plan their own remedies using our successes and lapses today,” he said.
Lawal said that the facility would capture the stories around the first index case of COVID-19 in the country, first index cases in affected states, and what states without cases did to prevent spread.
The NAN boss said that the facility was being coordinated from Abuja with Lagos as a major outlet, while each of the six geo-political zones would have an office.
“Information from the rural areas and state capitals will be filed at the zonal offices who will, in turn, send same to the coordinating office in Abuja.
“Lagos will also send its information to the central coordinating office in Abuja for final processing,” he said.
Lawal said that equipment required for the facility’s full take-off were being assembled, while personnel were already being stationed at various points.
NAN reports that the Covid-19 pandemic, which started in Wuyan, China has enveloped the entire world, infecting more than one million worldwide and killing more than 40,000, according to WHO figures.
In Nigeria, 174 cases had been confirmed positive as at Thursday, April 2. Among those that have tested positive are three state governors.
According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), two deaths have been recorded while nine infected persons had been treated and discharged.
As part of measures to contain the disease, the Federal Government has shut down Lagos, Ogun and the FCT, the areas with the highest number of infected persons.