The Federal Government is set to commence immediate payment of conditional cash transfer to the poorest and most vulnerable households in the country.
Due to the impact of the lockdown on the finances of many income earners, the category of vulnerable groups has also been expanded to accommodate more persons.
The Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouk stated this while fielding questions from journalists after the Joint Presidential Task Force briefing in Abuja on Monday afternoon.
“The president has directed that we start immediate payment of this cash transfer to the poorest and vulnerable households in our country.
“Because of this COVID-19, the vulnerable groups have to be expanded because we are aware that there are people who live on daily wage and so we are also going to look at those groups of people to see how we can take food to them in these affected areas,” she said.
She noted that other palliatives being put in place include the sustenance of the school-feeding programme to help families feed the children even while they stay at home and the distribution of relief materials.
“We are aware of residents of satellite communities around Lagos and Abuja whose livelihood will surely be affected by the lockdown. We shall deploy relief materials to ease their pains in the coming weeks.”
She said that trucks belonging to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) had been deployed to Lagos, Ogun and Abuja to commence distribution immediately.
On the grant of a three-month moratorium, she stated that the relevant institutions had received directives to commence immediately and that several other palliative measures would also come up in due time.
On the lockdown: Speaking earlier, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha emphasized that the lockdown was total and no breaches would be tolerated. Only essential service providers would be allowed to operate during the period.
“We are not sure how long this will last, as the countries that first started battling with COVID19 are still battling with it. It is a national challenge and we have to do everything within our power.
“Nothing will happen to us if we lock down for two weeks and allow us do the tracing of the contacts of the confirmed cases,” he said.
READ ALSO: COVID-19 cases rise by 20, hit 131
Cases so far: Speaking on the confirmed cases, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, had noted that it takes about four weeks for a patient to be discharged, and this can only be done if the patient had repeatedly tested negative, and was feeling better.
He also gave a breakdown of the current confirmed cases.
“About 80% of the people who contracted the coronavirus disease either showed no symptom or very mild symptoms. Of the remaining 20%, about 15% can be quite severe while 5 % is critical,” he said.
He added that the NCDC is only testing those who had either returned from a foreign trip recently or had had close contact with any returnee since the virus is imported, not indigenous.
“If you never had a contact like that, and you have not been abroad, it is very unlikely that you are a coronavirus victim,” he said.
He discouraged people, who wanted to undergo the test just to put their mind at ease, as he insisted that they were not likely to have it if they had no contact.