The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) said it is preparing ‘multiple health isolation and treatment centres’ across the territory to manage cases of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The FCTA also said the Zuba General Hospital would be converted into an isolation and treatment centre to accommodate more patients, if the need arises.
In a statement sent by the FCT spokesperson, Anthony Ogunleye, Tuesday night, the Minister of the FCT, Muhammad Bello, said the administration was working closely with the University Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, to expand the capacity of the current centre.
The national president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday said the CMD of the University of Abuja teaching hospital is currently converting the old emergency units into an isolation centre.
”It is a shame that Abuja, the nation’s capital city has less than 50 intensive care units ready in case of a serious outbreak,” he had said.
Meanwhile, the minister said other measures to curtail the spread of the virus include the closure of shops in markets and neighbourhood centres to traders “except those who sell essential commodities and medicines”.
”Pharmacies and supermarkets selling essential products and bakeries are, however, to remain open but should abide by strictly laid down measures the Malam,” Mr Bello said.
He said civil servants in the FCTA on grade level 12 and below have also been directed to remain at home starting from March 23 till further notice.
According to the minister, everyone on essential duties such as water supply, fire service, security and medical services, emergency response officers as well as environmental protection workers are exempted from the stay-at-home directive.
He said the FCTA will enforce the ban on all gatherings in public parks, gardens, bars, night clubs event and football viewing centres amongst others.
“Containing this virus requires and depends very heavily on personal choices of being disciplined, of being able to follow established protocols of behaviour as indicated by relevant health authorities. That is why it remains very critical for every citizen to follow laid health and safety protocols so that jointly, we will be able to conquer this disease.”
Also, Minister of State, Ramatu Aliyu, said a team from the FCTA had embarked on advocacy visits to the area councils “to educate the populace on the need for personal hygiene as well as constant handwashing with soap and water.”
Abuja is closely following the Lagos State government, which earlier directed that all markets selling ‘non-essential products or life-saving items’ should close for seven days, effective Thursday.
Two government officials have so far tested positive to the virus.
Abba Kyari, chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari was the first to test positive. The governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, is the second senior government official to test positive for the virus.
Nigeria has recorded 46 cases of COVID-19 including one death.
The disease has caused the deaths of over 15,000 people globally.
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