With 11 local government areas amongst the 18 identified as having the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases, Lagos remains the undisputed epicenter of the pandemic in Nigeria.
Indeed the health authorities have resolved to give special attention to the 18 councils across the country, adopting a strategy called ‘precision lockdown’, to check further spread of the virus. That was the decision of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, as it announced the measures in Abuja on Monday.
According to unofficial report, the councils that will be affected by the new phase of lockdown include: Mainland (1,274 cases), Mushin (458 cases), Eti-Osa (403 cases), Alimosho (239 cases), Kosofe (175 cases), Ikeja (168 cases), Oshodi/Isolo (132 cases), Apapa (131 cases), Amuwo Odofin (129 cases), Lagos Island (111), and Surulere (110 cases).
Others are located in Abuja, Bauchi, Maiduguri, Katsina, Nasarawa, Edo and Jigawa states.
The respective state governments and local authorities where the councils are located, according to the PTF, will administer the lockdown, the PTF declared through its Chairman, Mr. Boss Mustapha.
“For the precision lockdown, we have identified 18 local governments out of the 774 local government that are considered to be high burden with this infection and they account for 60 per cent of 24, 077 infections.
“The reason for the precision lockdown is to place specific measures that will be administered by State governments and local authorities. It is not for the Federal government, it’s the responsibilities of states and local authorities.”
Mustapha was accompanied to brief the President by the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Coordinator of the PTF Dr. Sani Aliyu and Director General of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu.
Giving more explanation on the precision lockdown, Dr. Sani said some of these local government areas have issues to do with their location and the fact that they do not have defined boundaries. We will be sending out clarification as soon as we finish this piece of work.
“The restriction of movements in these local government areas is only one of several interventions we are putting in place in terms of the hotspots. There will be precision targeting in these areas not only to increase testing but also to improve isolation, to make sure that we do a lot of risk communication and public awareness activities.
“So, cessation of movement is only part of it. And in some of the local governments, it may be impracticable to do so. We already know some local government where it may be impossible to do this.
“Overall, what we are trying to do is to put out the small fires across the country rather than trying to fight raging fire across the whole country which will be very difficult and will also be damaging economically for us.
“For those areas that we know have high burdens, that the numbers are increasing rapidly, where we have high positivity rate, we will be introducing specific precision measures working with the state governments to make sure that we get on top of this.
“This will be a job that will continue to review regularly. We expect some local government areas to drop after the interventions and some to be added.”
He added that the PTF will be forced to review some of the new measures should the pandemic continued to increase.