The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire has said that Federal Government is on the lookout for strategies adopted by other countries for possible adoption where it is favourable as schools through out the Federation resume gradually amidst COVID-19.
The Minister made this known when responding to questions from journalists during the Presidential Task Force PTF on COVID-19 Press Briefing recently, he said observation is on if actually spikes occur by doing certain activities like reopening of schools or transport system which some countries have been forced to shut down.
He explained that every country wants to reopen their economies and get things going as emphasis is on saving lives, saving lives also means people have to live. “So, that balance between saving lives and preserving lives is what it’s about in PTF and we are trying to get both at the same time. It is a very thin line.”
He pointed out that the responsibility of managing spikes does not lie with Government alone; it lies with everybody with citizens. “All the sub-national Governments, and the media has a role to play in helping to enlighten the public to be able understand the needs that go along with reopening the economy. There are responsibilities and there are activities that will mitigate the harmful effects of reopening the economy.”
Specifically, he said “We are looking at arrivals, the arrivals that come by air usually from other countries, some of them by land too, which we manage carefully; we are preparing for those arrivals if and when commercial air transport opens. We want to be able to do screening by taking usual port health screening and taking samples of arrivals at the airport so that we can test immediately those who have arrived carrying the virus or not.”
He explained further that government is trying to expand sample collections to rural areas because spike might happen if a rural area is not being very well monitored and there is reason to believe that if focus too much on cities and urban areas government might miss what is going on in small towns and less urban areas.
“So we want also to start looking at those areas, that’s why I mentioned oxygen kiosks in Local Government Areas and sample collections, all those are parts of strategy to start getting ready for the spikes we might have and these spikes might not necessary be in cities, it might be outside.
“We believe that if we are diligent in keeping to these prescriptions, the impact of gradually reopening the economy will be well mitigated and we may be able to get to reopening the economy and not seeing spike or we may just see a minimal spike. But let me say again that it is the responsibility for everybody, for all of us here in this room today”, he said.