The Federal Government has asked Governors to provide, at least, 300-bed space facilities in their respective state “in case of upsurge in the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, pandemic spreading across the country”.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, stated this on Friday in Abuja, when he featured on a News Agency of Nigeria Forum to update Nigerians on government’s efforts to contain the disease.
Mr Mohammed, who is a member of the Presidential Task Force for the Control of Coronavirus, said that the facilities would serve as isolation centres and Intensive Care Units for covid-19 patients.
He said that while testing for the virus is centralised, it would be difficult to move people that test positive across states.
“The governors must not wait for a deluge of patients before making the preparation.
“We are not asking them to build hospitals, but if they have facilities that can be converted such as hotels, conference centres, let us know and we will come and accredit them.
“We will tell them what equipment they would need and what type of training we are going to give as support,” he said.
The minister hailed the cooperation the task force had so far received from the states in the fight against the disease, and assured Nigerians that the federal government would continue to take the lead and set the policies.
He also expressed the optimism that the government would use the covid-19 advantage and experience to further develop the health facilities in the country.
“We pray sincerely that we will not fall into the same error after we fought Ebola, and we relaxed.
“We intend to use the opportunity of this coronavirus to improve our health care system at the federal, states and local government levels.
“Nobody ever thought that what is worse than Ebola will come. The successes we have achieved so far is through technology, sharing data with WHO, US Centre for Disease Control,” he said.
On the distribution chains for the 70,000 tonnes of grains released as palliatives by the government, the minister said that the data bank obtained through the assistance of the World Bank being used for special intervention programmes, would be applied.
“The criteria includes age, health status, at times your location, and the level of poverty.
“We have this in place and we have been using it to transfer money every month to beneficiaries.
“NEMA, over the years, has also developed a plan when there is a disaster. They know how to reach the victims.”
He said that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development would coordinate and supervise effective distribution of the commodities to ensure they got to the poor masses.