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Coronavirus: FG warns about deployment of Army, Police for contact tracing

The Federal Government has urged Nigerians to prepare for tougher measures; as part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

This was contained in a statement issued by the Minister of Information and Culture; Lai Mohammed, at a media briefing in Abuja, on Monday, March 23.

He said the government would not hesitate to deploy the military and the police for contact tracing in cases; where persons suspected to have contacted the coronavirus do not voluntarily show up for testing.

He said, “We should be ready for tougher measures. The forms they will take will be out from the end of today or tomorrow. But Nigerians should be ready for tougher measures.

“If we don’t do proper contact tracing, the figure will multiply every five days. Nigerians must take ownership of this initiative.

“We won’t hesitate to use whatever measure to ensure that we do not endanger other Nigerians. Containment is very cheaper than cure.

“A few people have helped. If you know you travelled recently, give yourself up to relevant agencies.

“If the situation warrants, we may be forced to use the police and the military for contact tracing. The police are already working on that. We don’t want the figure we have now to multiply. We should work towards containment which is cheaper.”

Meanwhile, authorities in northeast Nigeria on Monday; banned visitors from camps housing tens of thousands of people displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency; in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

No coronavirus infections have been reported in the sprawling facilities but aid workers fear overcrowding and poor hygiene conditions make them particularly vulnerable.

A statement from the regional government of Borno state, the epicentre of the decade-long conflict; said they were imposing a “four-week ban on visitors to all Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camps” after neighbouring Chad and Cameroon confirmed cases.

State Emergency Management Agency head Hajiya Yabawa Kolo also instructed camp managers “not to accept IDPs from any neighbouring country into their camps.

“We do not want to go to the issue of response because even in developed countries, it was difficult for them to contain the coronavirus pandemic,” she said in a statement.

“So at our own level, we are positioning ourselves to see how best we can stop the virus from transmitting.”

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