He also said N5bn had been approved for release to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to procure facilities to support emergency responses.
The President’s response came amidst mounting criticism that he had remained taciturn while the virus ravaged the country.
His media aide, Mr Garba Shehu, in a statement, quoted Buhari as saying, “I advise all Nigerians to follow to the letter the health guidelines issued by the Federal Ministry of Health and our state governments.
“Wash your hands thoroughly many times throughout the day. Observe ‘social distancing’ of a minimum of two metres. Do not make unnecessary journeys outside of your homes. Do not attend public meetings or public gatherings, including religious events – which is where, through social contact, the virus can easily be transmitted.
“The Federal Ministry of Health will continue to issue daily updates on all developments. Please refer to public announcements by the Ministry on radio, television, www.health.gov.ng and Twitter at @Fmohnigeria.’’
On the approvals for Lagos state and the NCDC, the Presidency stated, “With regard to the request by the government of Lagos State for financial support to combat and contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Lagos and Nigeria, the President has already approved the sum of N10bn which release was effected within two days of the request.
“The President has also approved and ensured the prompt release of N5bn special intervention requested by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to equip and expand their facilities and laboratories.
“In the same vein, the President has given approval to NCDC’s request for an aircraft from the Presidential Air Fleet for emergency situations. He has furthermore authorised the evacuation of three critical members of the NCDC team who are stuck in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo where they went for a training organised by the World Health Organisation.”
It added, “These measures are in addition to the ones approved and announced by the Presidential Task Force, PTF including the closure of land borders to human traffic for four weeks; the conversion of all Hajj transit camps to be utilized as COVID-19 isolation centers; the directive that all non-essential government employees to work from home and for a daily briefing of the nation through the PTF.
“Other approved measures already put into place include the ban of flights from and into the country, suspension of the Federal Executive Council and National Council of State meetings and a directive for engagements, at the highest levels between the Federal Government and the state governments.”
Meanwhile, the Presidency also released a note on Buhari’s latest directives on the regime’s response to the coronavirus last night, amid criticisms that he had been in aloofness to the plight of Nigerians.
The directives partly read, “I have ordered the immediate release of a N10bn grant to Lagos State, which remains the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria. This grant will enable Lagos State to increase its capacity to control and contain the outbreak, while also supporting other States with capacity building.
“The immediate release of a N5bn special intervention fund to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to equip, expand and provide personnel to its facilities and laboratories across the country.”