Full Text (Transcript) of President Buhari’s Speech on COVID-19 pandemic

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ADDRESS BY H.E. MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ON THE COVID- 19 PANDEMIC SUNDAY 29TH MARCH, 2020

1. Fellow Nigerians,

Full Text (Transcript) of President Buhari’s Speech on COVID-19 pandemic - Brand Spur
President Buhari

2. From the first signs that Coronavirus or COVID-19 was turning into an epidemic and was officially declared a world-wide emergency, the Federal Government started planning preventive, containment and curative measures in the event the disease hits Nigeria.

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3. The whole instruments of government are now mobilized to confront what has now become both a health emergency and an economic crisis.

Full Text (Transcript) of President Buhari’s Speech on COVID-19 pandemic - Brand Spur

4. Nigeria, unfortunately, confirmed its first case on 27th February 2020. Since then, we have seen the number of confirmed cases rise slowly.

5. By the morning of March 29th, 2020, the total confirmed cases within Nigeria had risen to ninety-seven.

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6. Regrettably, we also had our first fatality, a former employee of PPMC, who died on 23rd March 2020. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family in this very difficult time. We also pray for a quick recovery for those infected and undergoing treatments.

7. As of today, COVID-19 has no cure. Scientists around the world are working very hard to develop a vaccine.

8. We are in touch with these institutions as they work towards a solution that will be certified by international and local medical authorities within the shortest possible time.

9. For now, the best and most efficient way to avoid getting infected is through regular hygienic and sanitary practices as well as social distancing.

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10. As individuals, we remain the greatest weapon to fight this pandemic. By washing our hands regularly with clean water and soap, disinfecting frequently used surfaces and areas, coughing into a tissue or elbow and strictly adhering to infection prevention control measures in health facilities, we can contain this virus.

11. Since the outbreak was reported in China, our Government has been monitoring the situation closely and studying the various responses adopted by other countries.

12. Indeed, the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was one of ten global health leaders invited by the World Health Organisation to visit China and understudy their response approach. I am personally very proud of Dr Ihekweazu for doing this on behalf of all Nigerians.

13. Since his return, the NCDC has been implementing numerous strategies and programs in Nigeria to ensure that the adverse impact of this virus on our country is minimized. We ask all Nigerians to support the work of the Federal Ministry of Health and NCDC are doing, led by the Presidential Task Force.

14. Although we have adopted strategies used globally, our implementation programs have been tailored to reflect our local realities.

15. In Nigeria, we are taking a two-step approach.

16. First, to protect the lives of our fellow Nigerians and residents living here and second, to preserve the livelihoods of workers and business owners to ensure their families get through this very difficult time in dignity and with hope and peace of mind.

17. To date, we have introduced healthcare measures, border security, fiscal and monetary policies in our response. We shall continue to do so as the situation unfolds.

18. Some of these measures will surely cause major inconveniences to many citizens. But these are sacrifices we should all be willing and ready to make for the greater good of our country.

19. In Nigeria’s fight against COVID-19, there is no such thing as an overreaction or an under-reaction. It is all about the right reaction by the right agencies and trained experts.

20. Accordingly, as a Government, we will continue to rely on the guidance of our medical professionals and experts at the Ministry of Health, NCDC and other relevant agencies through this difficult time.

21. I, therefore, urge all citizens to adhere to their guidelines as they are released from time to time.

22. As we are all aware, Lagos and Abuja have the majority of confirmed cases in Nigeria. Our focus, therefore, remains to urgently and drastically contain these cases and to support other states and regions in the best way we can.

23. This is why we provided an initial intervention of fifteen billion Naira (N15b) to support the national response as we fight to contain and control the spread.

24. We also created a Presidential Task Force (PTF) to develop a workable National Response Strategy that is being reviewed on a daily basis as the requirements change. This strategy takes international best practices but adopts them to suit our unique local circumstances.

25. Our goal is to ensure all States have the right support and manpower to respond immediately.

26. So far, in Lagos and Abuja, we have recruited hundreds of ad-hoc staff to man our call centers and support our tracing and testing efforts.

27. I also requested, through the Nigeria Governors Forum, for all State Governments to nominate Doctors and Nurses who will be trained by the NCDC and Lagos State Government on the tactical and operational response to the virus in case it spreads to other states.

28. This training will also include medical representatives from our armed forces, paramilitary and security, and intelligence agencies.

29. As a nation, our response must be guided, systematic and professional. There is a need for consistency across the nation. All inconsistencies in policy guidelines between Federal and State agencies will be eliminated.

30. As I mentioned earlier, as this morning we had ninety-seven confirmed cases. The majority of these are in Lagos and Abuja. All the confirmed cases are getting the necessary medical care.

31. Our agencies are currently working hard to identify cases and people these patients have been in contact with.

32. The few confirmed cases outside Lagos and Abuja are linked to persons who have traveled from these centers.

33. We are therefore working to ensure such interstate and intercity movements are restricted to prevent further spread.

34. Based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, I am directing the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020. This restriction will also apply to Ogun State due to its close proximity to Lagos and the high traffic between the two States.

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35. All citizens in these areas are to stay in their homes. Travel to or from other states should be postponed. All businesses and offices within these locations should be fully closed during this period.

36. The Governors of Lagos and Ogun States, as well as the Minister of the FCT, have been notified. Furthermore, heads of security and intelligence agencies have also been briefed.

37. We will use this containment period to identify, trace and isolate all individuals that have come into contact with confirmed cases. We will ensure the treatment of confirmed cases while restricting further spread to other States.

38. This order does not apply to hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organizations in healthcare-related manufacturing and distribution.

39. Furthermore, commercial establishments such as;

a. food processing, distribution, and retail companies;
b. petroleum distribution and retail entities,
c. power generation, transmission and distribution companies; and
d. private security companies are also exempted.

40. Although these establishments are exempted, access will be restricted and monitored.

41. Workers in telecommunication companies, broadcasters, print and electronic media staff who can prove they are unable to work from home are also exempted.

42. All seaports in Lagos shall remain operational in accordance with the guidelines I issued earlier. Vehicles and drivers conveying essential cargoes from these Ports to other parts of the country will be screened thoroughly before departure by the Ports Health Authority.

43. Furthermore, all vehicles conveying food and other essential humanitarian items into these locations from other parts of the country will also be screened thoroughly before they are allowed to enter these restricted areas.

44. Accordingly, the Hon. Minister of Health is hereby directed to redeploy all Port Health Authority employees previously stationed in the Lagos and Abuja Airports to key roads that serve as entry and exit points to these restricted zones.

45. Movements of all passenger aircraft, both commercial and private jets, are hereby suspended. Special permits will be issued on a needs basis.

46. We are fully aware that such measures will cause much hardship and inconvenience to many citizens. But this is a matter of life and death if we look at the dreadful daily toll of deaths in Italy, France, and Spain.

47. However, we must all see this as our national and patriotic duty to control and contain the spread of this virus. I will, therefore, ask all of us affected by this order to put aside our personal comfort to safeguard ourselves and fellow human beings. This common enemy can only be controlled if we all come together and obey scientific and medical advice.

48. As we remain ready to enforce these measures, we should see this as our individual contribution in the war against COVID-19. Many other countries have taken far stricter measures in a bid to control the spread of the virus with positive results.

49. For residents of satellite and commuter towns and communities around Lagos and Abuja whose livelihoods will surely be affected by some of these restrictive measures, we shall deploy relief materials to ease their pains in the coming weeks.

50. Furthermore, although schools are closed, I have instructed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development to work with State Governments in developing a strategy on how to sustain the school feeding program during this period without compromising our social distancing policies. The Minister will be contacting the affected States and agree on detailed next steps.

51. Furthermore, I have directed that a three-month repayment moratorium for all TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni loans be implemented with immediate effect.

52. I have also directed that a similar moratorium be given to all Federal Government funded loans issued by the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and the Nigeria Export-Import Bank.

53. For on-lending facilities using capital from international and multilateral development partners, I have directed our development financial institutions to engage these development partners and negotiate concessions to ease the pains of the borrowers.

54. For the most vulnerable in our society, I have directed that the conditional cash transfers for the next two months be paid immediately. Our Internally displaced persons will also receive two months of food rations in the coming weeks.

55. We also call on all Nigerians to take personal responsibility to support those who are vulnerable within their communities, helping them with whatever they may need.

56. As we all pray for the best possible outcome, we shall continue planning for all eventualities.

57. This is why I directed that all Federal Government Stadia, Pilgrims camps, and other facilities be converted to isolation centers and makeshift hospitals.

58. My fellow Nigerians, as a Government, we will avail all necessary resources to support the response and recovery. We remain committed to doing whatever it takes to confront COVID-19 in our country.

59. We are very grateful to see the emerging support of the private sector and individuals to the response as well as our development partners.

60. At this point, I will ask that all contributions and donations be coordinated and centralized to ensure efficient and impactful spending. The Presidential Task Force remains the central coordinating body on the COVID-19 response.

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61. I want to assure you all that Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies with a role to play in the outbreak response are working hard to bring this virus under control.

62. Every nation in the world is challenged at this time. But we have seen countries where citizens have come together to reduce the spread of the virus.

63. I will, therefore, implore you again to strictly comply with the guidelines issued and also do your bit to support the Government and the most vulnerable in your communities.

64. I will take this opportunity to thank all our public health workforce, health care workers, port health authorities and other essential staff on the frontlines of the response for their dedication and commitment. You are true heroes.

65. I thank you all for listening. May God continue to bless and protect us all.

President Muhammadu Buhari
29th March 2020.

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Full Text (Transcript) of President Buhari’s Speech on COVID-19 pandemic - Brand SpurFull Text (Transcript) of President Buhari’s Speech on COVID-19 pandemic - Brand Spur

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Latest News

Qatar Airways Launches Ferry Transfer Service from Shenzhen Shekou to Hong Kong International Airport

Qatar Airways introduces Upstream Check-in Service in Shenzhen starting from 15 April 2021 to offer greater connectivity in the Greater Bay Area

Local passengers will have the option to utilise the 30-minutes-long ferry service to fly out of Hong Kong; "Asia's World City" to over 80 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas


SHENZHEN & HONG KONG SAR, CHINA - Media OutReach - 12 April 2021 - Qatar Airways today announced the sea-to-air ferry transfer service from Shenzhen Shekou Port to the SkyPier in the airside of Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) starting from 15 April 2021, providing passengers in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), one of the world's most dynamic mega-regions, convenient access to the airline's global network from "Asia's World City".


Full Text (Transcript) of President Buhari’s Speech on COVID-19 pandemic - Brand Spur

Partnering with Airport Authority Hong Kong, the introduction of the Upstream Check-in Service will allow Qatar Airways customers in Shenzhen greater flexibility and enhanced travel options to the world from Hong Kong, where the airline operates daily direct service to Doha with its modern and fuel-efficient Airbus A350-900 aircraft that features 36 lie-flat seats in Business Class and 247 seats in Economy Class.

Qatar Airways customers can purchase their ferry tickets from SkyLink or the port's website. Passengers utilising the 30-minutes-long ferry service will be provided with boarding passes and baggage check-through service to their final destinations at the Shenzhen Shekou terminal, where they will also clear their customs and immigration. Upon arrival at SkyPier, customers can proceed directly to their Qatar Airways boarding gate, or enjoy the award-winning duty-free shopping experience and fine-dining options at HKIA before continuing a seamless and hassle-free onward journey with the airline to more than 80 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas.

Mr. Thomas Scruby, Qatar Airways Vice President of Sales for Australasia & North Asia, said: "The introduction of ferry transfer service will boost our footprint in the Greater Bay Area by providing our Southern Chinese customers more flexible flying options via HKIA. We know connectivity within the region and to the wider world is critical for the success of the GBA. Therefore, we are excited to do our part to build the infrastructure necessary to make it easier and smoother for local customers to travel despite the disruption caused by the pandemic around the world."

"We are confident in the market's demand and our commitment to the region remains resolute. The next phase of our partnership with Airport Authority Hong Kong will see the ferry transfer service to be further expanded to other key GBA metropolis such as Macau and Dongguan once government restrictions are lifted, allowing even more customers in the region to enjoy the world-class experience that Qatar Airways has to offer."

Premium customers opting for the ferry transfer service can continue to enjoy the luxurious on-ground experience at the Plaza Premium Lounge, conveniently located near Gate 1 at the South Departures Hall in Hong Kong International Airport. Passengers will be able to take advantage of the well-furnished environment with comfortable seating, shower rooms, contactless food ordering service, highspeed Wi-Fi and international TV channels. Privilege Club Gold members and above as well as selected oneworld frequent flyers also enjoy access to The Wing located near Gates 1 - 4, the industry-renowned lounge operated by Cathay Pacific, where guests can recharge, relax, and catch up with work before boarding their Qatar Airways flights.

The Greater Bay area is home to many of the nation's leading universities and academic institutions; the ferry transfer service will also provide more travel choices to the area's students wishing to complete their higher-education or exchange programs abroad. International students will be able to enroll in Qatar Airways Student Club and enjoy a wide range of benefits throughout their educational journey, such as special fares, extra baggage allowances, the flexibility to change the dates of their flight, complimentary Super Wi-Fi onboard, and more. For information about Student Club, visit: https://www.qatarairways.com/en/student-club.html

In addition to the highest safety standards, passengers flying with Qatar Airways will enjoy an even greater range of thoughtfully designed onboard experiences, including locally inspired menus, multi-language entertainment programs within the airline's award-winning IFE system, as well as Cantonese and Mandarin-speaking staff service both onboard and at the airline's five-star hub Hamad International Airport (HIA).

Qatar Airways continues to expand its network of destinations, offering more flights to international destinations than any other airline. By the middle of summer 2021, Qatar Airways' plans to rebuild its network to more than 140 destinations including 23 in Africa, 14 in the Americas, 43 in Asia-Pacific, 43 in Europe and 19 in Middle East. Many cities will be served with a strong schedule with daily or more frequencies.

Qatar Airways has become the first global airline in the world to achieve the prestigious 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating by international air transport rating organisation, Skytrax. This follows HIA's recent success as the first airport in the Middle East and Asia to be awarded a Skytrax 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating. These recognitions provide assurance to passengers across the world that airline health and safety standards are subject to the highest possible standards of professional, independent scrutiny and assessment. For full details of all the measures that have been implemented onboard and in HIA, please visit qatarairways.com/safety.

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named 'World's Best Airline' by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by the international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named 'Best Airline in the Middle East', 'World's Best Business Class', and 'Best Business Class Seat', in recognition of its ground-breaking Business Class experience, Qsuite. Qsuite is available on flights to more than 45 destinations including Johannesburg, Frankfurt, New York and Singapore.

About Qatar Airways:

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named 'World's Best Airline' by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named 'Best Airline in the Middle East', 'World's Best Business Class' and 'Best Business Class Seat', in recognition of its ground-breaking Business Class experience, Qsuite. Qatar Airways is the only airline to have been awarded the coveted "Skytrax Airline of the Year" title, which is recognised as the pinnacle of excellence in the airline industry, five times.


Hamad International Airport (HIA), the airline's home and hub, was recently ranked "Third Best Airport in the World", among 550 airports worldwide, by the SKYTRAX World Airport Awards 2020. Rising from fourth position in 2019 to third in 2020, HIA has been steadily rising in the 'World's Best Airports' rankings since the start of its operations in 2014. In addition, HIA was voted the 'Best Airport in the Middle East' for the sixth year in a row and 'Best Staff Service in the Middle East' for the fifth year in a row.


Qsuite, a patented Qatar Airways product, features the industry's first-ever double bed in Business Class, as well as privacy panels that stow away, allowing passengers in adjoining seats to create their own private room, a first of its kind in the industry.

Qatar Airways was the first Gulf carrier to join global airline alliance oneworld, enabling its passengers to benefit from more than 1,000 airports in more than 160 countries, with 14,250 daily departures.


Oryx One, Qatar Airways' in-flight entertainment system offers passengers up to 4,000 entertainment options from the latest blockbuster movies, TV box sets, music, games and much more. Passengers flying on Qatar Airways flights served by its B787, B777, A350, A380, A319 and select A320 and A330 aircraft can also stay in touch with their friends and family around the world by using the award-winning airline's on-board Wi-Fi and GSM service.


Qatar Airways proudly supports a range of exciting international and local initiatives dedicated to enriching the global community that it serves. Qatar Airways, the official FIFA partner, is the official sponsor of many top-level sporting events, including the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022TM, reflecting the values of sports as a means of bringing people together, something at the core of the airline's own brand message - Going Places Together.


Qatar Airways Cargo, one of the world's leading international air cargo carriers, serves more than 60 freighter destinations worldwide via its world-class Doha hub and also delivers freight in the belly-hold of passenger aircraft to an extensive global network. The Qatar Airways Cargo fleet includes two Boeing 747-8 freighters and 24 Boeing 777 freighters.


Qatar Executive is the private jet charter division of Qatar Airways Group. Luxury jet services are available for worldwide charter on board the operator's wholly-owned business jet fleet. Qatar Executive is the launch customer for Gulfstream's G700, the world's first commercial service operator of the Gulfstream G500 and largest commercial operator of the G650ER worldwide. Qatar Executive's service portfolio also includes aircraft management, maintenance and Fixed Based Operator services.

Full Text (Transcript) of President Buhari’s Speech on COVID-19 pandemic - Brand Spur
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