The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other banks may review current restrictions imposed on banking activities following the sit-at-home order by the Federal Government to control the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic particularly in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce (PTF) on Covid-19, Boss Mustapha gave the indication Friday in Abuja at the daily briefing of the Taskforce.
Mustapha, while responding to concerns on the non-opening of the banks, particularly in the FCT even when they had been permitted to carry out skeletal services, said the apex bank would have to iron out the issue with other banks to reduce the hardship being faced as a result of that.
This is just as the PTF National Coordinator, Sani Aliyu said PTF will review the protocols to banks operations after reaching out to the CBN Governor, Godwin Emiefele to find out if there are clear logistics reasons that are preventing banks from operating skeletal services.
Mustapha earlier announced that the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 has developed the protocol on points of entry for Nigerians living abroad who want to return to the country in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He explained the Presidential Taskforce has has also finalized arrangements for evacuation, isolation and testing of the Nigerians clamouring to return.
The PTF Chairman also said arrangements to finalise modalities for the expansion of the palliatives are in top gear and thanked all public spirited persons and corporate bodies that have voluntarily provided food and other palliatives to the poor, the vulnerable, the sick and the aged.
According to him, PTF has been receiving feedback from the public on the challenges and efforts are being intensified to make the palliatives approved by government reach Nigerians with ease, adding that the delivery is being done in close collaboration with the state authorities.
“The PTF continues to work with other sectors of government managing the economic, security and other aspects of the national response. Early this week the Inspector general was here to brief on the readiness of his men. We wish to reassure Nigerians that the entire security apparatus of the nation is awake and alive to protect you. In return, we appeal further that you should please remain law abiding and obey the orders and other guidelines”, he said.
Similarly, the PTF National Coordinator, Aliyu expressed concern over donors who do not abide by safety protocols in distributing palliative and relief materials in supporting the vulnerable.
He said efforts geared towards stopping the spread of the virus could be defeated if donors are not willing to abide by the safety and health protocols in curbing the spread of the virus.
Aliyu said, the PTF is working with the donors to ensure that the distribution of palliatives is done in a safe and effective manner,
He stressed that, “in terms of distribution of palliatives, we would continue to ensure that donor abide by public safety protocols during the distribution of palliatives”.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has scaled up the volume of testing for Covid-19 in the country, following the activation of three laboratories with the machines that have the combined capacity to conduct a minimum of 6,000 tests daily.
Chikwe Ihekweazu, NCDC Director-General who made this known at the briefing said the country got its first consignment of reagents for the throughput machines that have been installed to test for HIV viral load.
“We have published the national strategy to scale up COVID-19 testing in Nigeria which leverages on validated technology. Anyone who wishes to contribute to our strategy in any way, understand our plan and trajectory can key in”, Ihekweazu said.
“As at 6:00 pm 17th April 2020, 7153 samples have been tested for COVID-19 in Nigeria. We are working very hard to increase the number of samples tested, including community surveillance in the FCT and Lagos” NCDC”, he added.
On his part, Osagie, Ehanire, minister of Health, said the cases of community transmission is on the rise and urged citizens to always disclose accurate information to the NCDC or health personnel.
He also advised the people with fever or respiratory symptoms to wear face masks, self isolate and contact the NCDC, while those who tests positive to the virus should cooperate with health personnel.
The Minister further informed that the Chinese experts, who are still in quarantine, have started sharing their experience on how they tackled COVID-19 through a video conferencing