The United States has pledged to send ventilators to Nigeria as Africa’s most populous nation grapples with the coronavirus outbreak.
U.S. President Donald Trump promised Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari during an April 28 phone call to send at least 200 ventilators to Nigeria, where more than 4,600 coronavirus cases had been confirmed and more than 150 people had died as of May 12.
The call between Trump and Buhari lasted several minutes, according to Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, who spoke to PM NEWS in Nigeria.
“During the meeting, President Buhari used the opportunity to brief the American president on the steps that Nigeria is taking to contain the spread of the disease,” Mohammed said. “On his part, President Trump assured that the United States stands in solidarity with Nigeria in this difficult time.”
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has undertaken aggressive engagement campaigns to encourage safe and sanitary practices among the public.
After the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Nigeria on February 28, health workers collected, tested and analyzed samples from the Italian traveler who brought the virus to the nation. Technicians sequenced the genome for those samples at the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases at Redeemer’s University. It was the first analysis of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in Africa.
Nigeria’s first confirmed case was the first in Sub-Saharan Africa, the BBC reported.
A gradual easing of lockdown restrictions to stem the spread of COVID-19 began May 4 in Abuja, the capital, Ogun and Lagos, Buhari said during a national broadcast. Initial 14-day lockdowns started March 30 in the three areas.
Buhari said he made the decision to ease restrictions after reviewing the lockdown, which allowed the country’s economy to operate while officials worked to contain the virus, the BBC reported.
Buhari vowed to send more health workers and equipment to Kano, where the lockdown would remain, due to an increase in COVID-19 cases. He also promised to hold security personnel accountable for any human rights abuses during the lockdown.