COVID-19: Trump calls Buhari, promises to donate ventilators

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President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, had a telephone conversation with President Donald Trump of the United States, in which he promised to send ventilators to help Nigeria flatten the curve of COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who made the disclosure during the daily briefing of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, said the conversation bordered on Nigeria’s response to the pandemic.

“President Muhammadu Buhari today had a phone conversation with President Donald Trump, at the request of the American President.The conversation centred on Nigeria’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. President Buhari used the opportunity to brief the American President on the steps that Nigeria is taking to contain the spread of the disease.

“For his part, President Trump assured that the United States stand in solidarity with Nigeria in this difficult time and promised to send ventilators to support the country in its fight against the pandemic.”

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Meanwhile, Germany, yesterday, donated an additional €5.5 million (N2.2 billion) to Nigeria.

A statement by the German Embassy said the donation was aimed at boosting the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF) managed by the United Nations (OCHA) to continue life-saving aid in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.  According to the statement, Germany’s going activities include drilling of wells, construction of sanitation facilities, rehabilitation of buildings or construction of shelters for internally displaced persons and other victims of insecurity in the North East.

The donation brings Germany’s contribution to the NHF to over €29 million since it became operational in May 2017.

Furthermore, Germany has pledged a total of €12 million (N4.8 billion) in additional support to the West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO), the regional health institution of the ECOWAS. The new allocation is earmarked for the purchase of vital medical supplies and laboratory equipment, training measures and more generally, cooperation in pandemic prevention at the national and regional levels.

In Nigeria, Germany has supported the NCDC with the introduction of a Surveillance Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System (SORMAS), which as of August 2019, was implemented in c. 200 local government areas.

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“Clearly, the current crisis goes beyond national and even continental borders and can only be fought effectively in a ooperative way. We need more international cooperation, not less”, said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, referring to the need of multilateral action and joining forces in fighting the crisis. “Equitable distribution of protective material, tests, medication and vaccines – as soon as they become available – is an imperative of our common humanity.”

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Against this backdrop, the German federal government has successfully campaigned in the G20 group of countries and the Paris Club group of creditor countries in favour of a debt moratorium for countries heavily impacted by the economic impact of COVID-19.

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