During a regular press briefing by the presidential task force committee, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha urge Nigerians to await the next phase to ease lockdown.
In his word “You would all recall that on Monday 1st June, 2020 we commenced the second phase of the eased lockdown in our National Response to the battle against COVID-19, for a period of four weeks. As we informed you on Monday, we have entered the closing week of the second phase and approaching a decision point. We shall be carefully considering the fact of a growing pandemic and risk perception in our efforts to balance between lives and livelihood. This pandemic is definitely not over and we must remain careful and vigilant”
All through the month, the PTF communicated to Nigerians in different ways, the dangers of complacency and non-compliance with measures prescribed for the fight against COVID-19. Particularly, Nigerians were reminded that there is presently no” known vaccine” for the virus and that all over the world, non-pharmaceutical measures still remained the most effective and avoid being infected remains the best choice for everyone.
The PTF also continued to assess the developments nationwide and found that non-compliance has been largely fueled by skepticism and ignorance about the disease. We also noted that stigmatization has further impacted on the willingness of people to come out to seek help and even tell their stories. The nature of this pandemic demands that we must detect and treat it in order to address it. Let me emphasise, therefore, that COVID-19 is not a condition to be ashamed of as it has no respect for status, nationality, race, creed, tribe, etc. Every person infected must be treated to prevent spread and avoidable fatalities.
As we deepen the community engagement and risk communication phase of our national response, the PTF still reiterates the need for ownership, taking responsibility and expanding the scope of sensitisation, all of which combine to make our ability to maximally detect, trace, isolate and treat nationwide successful.
Boss Mustapha said “You would have noticed that the number of confirmed cases and fatalities released in the last few days have been on the high side. While we attribute this to increased testing, it also goes to confirm the extent of the spread within our communities, especially the twenty-one (21) high burden LGAs identified as accounting for over 60% of infections nationwide.
”Closely related to the high number of confirmed cases and fatalities at home are lessons drawn from other jurisdictions. From Europe to China to the United States of America, the rising numbers and reported resurgence in some cases should also be of concern to us. Of particular concern, however, is the case of Brazil which has exceeded the one million mark of confirmed cases. We had informed you that Brazil shares several cultural, demographic and climatic affinities with us.
“If any lesson is to be learnt, Brazil should be a subject of interest that will make us change our behavior.”
In furtherance of the collaboration with sub-national entities, the PTF joined the Nigerian Governors Forum in a virtual meeting yesterday, to evaluate the progress made. The outcomes of the discussions will be factored into the decision under the next steps.
Ladies and gentlemen, the PTF notes and acknowledges progress being made globally and domestically to search for a cure for COVID-19. It also notes with delight the recent announcement that 4,000 people have volunteered for a vaccine trial in the United Kingdom which gives some room for greater hope. We similarly look forward to the outcomes of validation processes for submissions made by some Nigerian scientists
“Given the findings made during our assessment, I feel compelled to reiterate the non-pharmaceutical measures put in place by the PTF, so that you will all internalise it:
(i)wearing of facemask in public;
(ii).Keeping social distancing;
(iii)Good respiratory hygiene;
(iv) Washing of hands regularly
(v) Avoiding large gatherings;
(vi) Generally changing our behaviour; and
(vii) Taking responsibility.
Please remember, all the measures listed and many more are meant to be observed in a combined manner, in order to make them effective in saving lives. These are our fighting opportunities for survival.
“The PTF has continued to receive Reports about hospitals rejecting patients thus resulting in the needless death of patients suffering from other ailments. We continue to plead with these hospitals not to reject patients but to follow the protocols for managing COVID-19 while receiving them and most importantly, to seek necessary accreditation from the Ministry of Health and NCDC to manage COVID-19 cases”.
“Finally, I wish to inform you that by the end of this week, the PTF would be submitting a Report containing our assessment and recommendations to Mr. President.
“We, therefore, urge Nigerians to await the next steps”.