President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday in Abuja urged the international community to support collaborations and initiatives aimed at sharing knowledge from research and science to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The President spoke at a virtual Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against the COVID-19 co-hosted by the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
President Buhari told the summit, co-hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President and AU Chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa, and Senegal President and co-chair of FOCAC Macky Sall, that Nigeria would support and join any joint and collective action plan at regional and global levels to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout.
”As we face a common pervasive and invisible enemy, it is important that we all remain united to save our shared humanity, because this virus knows no borders.
”The fight against a global pandemic that continues to take so many lives, threaten livelihoods and challenging the very fabric of societies, requires enhanced cooperation and worldwide solidarity.
”I seize this opportunity to reiterate the need for this Summit to put humanity at the centre of our vision for common prosperity.
”We must learn lessons and share knowledge from research, as we develop more creative, responsive and humane health systems, improve crisis management protocols and support each other in the battle against COVID-19,’’ he said.
The Nigerian leader also used the occasion to commend the Chinese government, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and the World Health Organization for the respective actions and measures to help developing and middle-income countries in Africa to tackle the pandemic.
On the UN, the President praised the Secretary-General, for launching COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund for low and middle-income countries to tackle the health emergency, address social and economic consequences of the crisis and, strengthen the recovery efforts of most vulnerable countries.
The leadership of the global health body, WHO, was commended for its advice that enabled Nigeria take measures and enlighten its people on steps to avoid contracting and spreading the virus.
Similarly, President Buhari acknowledged that Chinese support had tremendously strengthened Nigeria’s effort in combating COVID-19, adding that President Xi’s strong support has further demonstrated the spirit of solidarity and enhanced the bond of partnership that already exist among FOCAC Member-States.
President Buhari also provided an update on what his administration has done since the tragedy of the global pandemic hit the country.
”From the outset of the pandemic, we in Nigeria instituted strong surveillance and infection prevention as well as control measures and made provisions to strengthen our testing capacities.
”Several well-equipped treatment and isolation centers were set up across the country to increase bed capacity.
”In the spirit of international collaboration, medical experts in Nigeria participated by video link in learning and experience-sharing exercises organized by experts from various countries, including China”.
Furthermore, the President said the Nigerian Government had trained several thousand healthcare workers, provided Personal Protective Equipment to ensure the safety of frontline workers, and offered incentives for their motivation.
With regard to restrictions in movements occasioned by the need to contain the spread of the disease, he said the Federal Government created the enabling environment for farmers to safely plant and harvest during this rainy season in order to ensure that food security was not compromised.
”In addition, we took steps for prompt transportation of agricultural products and food items from rural production areas to the consumers and to industrial processing zones.
”We have also developed practical policies to protect lives and livelihoods at the same time and to ensure our economy continues to function as we maintain an aggressive response to the pandemic,” he said.
In his remarks, the Chinese President said the summit was convened to discuss joint response to COVID-19 and renew fraternity with Africa.
He said the world must mobilise resources and do whatever it takes to protect lives, adding that China will do whatever it can to support procurement of supplies, sending medical experts, and in other diverse ways.
Noting that China and Africa account for nearly one-third of the global population, President Xi pledged to step up support for Africa, adding that China will provide 2billion USD over two years to support the work of WHO in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.