COVID-19 Spread: FG Warn Of Possible Lockdown

COVID-19: Nigeria may receive vaccines in January ― Health Minister

Joseph Bakare

The Minister of health, Osagie Ehanire has said that the government may likely consider imposing a fresh lockdown if confirmed cases of COVID-19 spread more.

He however, said that such could only happen where there are enough indications to do so

Speaking during the World Health Organisation press conference, he said that Nigeria was yet to record cases of unexplainable deaths, hence no cause for alarm, adding, “Nigeria will not return to lockdown except there is a very strong indication.

“Lockdowns are last cards, we do not put them in from and whenever we are going to do that, it will be targeted not generalized and with a lot of condition to ease inconvenience.”

According to him, the federal government has worked out plans for targeted lockdown with conditional support for all those who will be affected in various degrees.

He said that plans were ongoing to build up capacity and readiness to respond adequately to Covid-19 developments.

He said, “We have not seen much cases of unexplainable deaths, so we working to improve on testing. But so far, there is an indication that we are not missing a lot.”

Speaking further, Ehanire said that weak health system, inequity in vaccine distribution and inadequate protective tools are major challenges being faced by Nigeria in the fight against Covid-19.

He added that support should be continuously offered to African countries with weak health system.

He disclosed that the Nigeria government is ready and interested in being a hub for vaccine production in Africa to curb shortage of supply.

He said, “We have worked out a business plan, there is a company in Nigeria, that is into partnership with the government, that is to lead the vaccine production, we are going to bid for technical support and be one of those considered for production of vaccines in Africa.

“But we are expecting vaccines from many sources, things have changed from the time we had anxiety about where to get the vaccines, right now Nigeria is in the process of paying for about 29 million doses of vaccine from the Africa vaccine acquisition task team, Johnson & Johnson.

“So that process is ongoing and we shall receive the vaccines before August. We have bilateral arrangement for Moderna Vaccine which we have just received through the COVAX facility from the United State, 4,000,080 doses.

“We already prepared the cold chain arrangement for that we are expecting 3,000,900 of Astrazeneca and another 3.5 million of Pfizer.

“So, if everything goes well, before the end of this month and through August, we are going to have more vaccines with more variety.”

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