The National Economic Council (NEC) has said lockdown will be the last resort in the wake of second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.
Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong stated this while briefing the State House correspondents after a virtual NEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The council expressed worries and advised that sanitation, restrictions on the number of people in gatherings, among other protocols, should be taken seriously.
“It was resolved that proper measures should be taken again with very strict observation of the protocols and observation of some of the conditions that were laid; otherwise, we are going to move into a situation where it will be very uncontrollable.
“And for that, states were advised to go back and emphasis the implementation or the enforcement of some of the protocols that we have earlier started in the first phase. Otherwise, we have to resort to the last aspect, of course everybody knows, going back to lockdown again which is not anybody’s doing.
“But then, let’s all go back and observe most of the protocols that we have to curtail the further spread of COVID-19,’’ he said.
The virtual NEC meeting expressed alarm at recent rising numbers of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) across the country, instructing stricter enforcement of all earlier prescribed prevention measures, including the non-pharmaceutical interventions, to tame the surge.
According to a statement issued by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande, the NEC ratified a resolution, which noted that it “is alarmed that the current trends are now approaching or surpassing the levels reached during the lockdown imposed at the height of the epidemic earlier in the year.”
While enlarging the membership of its Ad-Hoc Committee on COVID-19 and mandating it to urgently come up with additional measures to deal with the spike in cases, NEC noted that “the country is now experiencing a huge resurgence of COVID-19 patients needing intensive care and the existing health facilities are fast becoming overwhelmed.”
The committee, chaired by the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa with Lagos, Bauchi, Plateau, Kano, Anambra governors and the FCT Minister, has now been enlarged with the addition of the Ogun and Kaduna state governors.
Minister of Health is also a member of the committee. The Federal Ministers of Information and Youth and Sports have also been asked to join.
Also, Health and Information Commissioners in the states would also now be co-opted into the assignment.
Minister of Environment Dr. Mohammad Abubakar also on Thursday urged Nigerians to endeavour to adhere to COVID-19 protocols to prevent the spread of the disease.
Abubakar, who spoke in Abuja while briefing reporters on the second waves of COVID-19 pandemic in the country, said the important of adhering to the COVID-19 protocols was to ensure that Nigerians were saved and protected from the deadly virus.