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COVID-19: Nigerians should be more vigilant now – FG warns

By Oluwaseun Sonde

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The Presidential Task Force PTF on COVID-19 has called on Nigerians to be more vigilant more than ever before, because the country has opened its air spaces to international travels, relaxed a number of restrictions in opening up more sectors of the economy and schools are beginning to open in varying degrees.

The Chairman of PTF on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha disclosed this at the Press Conference in Abuja on Monday, he said the call for greater vigilance is underscored by the fact that Nigeria economy has been seriously affected by the pandemic. According to him, “Nigeria is pushing through its home-grown economic recovery strategies to cushion the economic impact of the pandemic. Also, our health systems, in-spite of its fragility, have been able to withstand and contain cases resulting from COVID-19 infection, where those of more advanced countries have been overwhelmed.

“This call is made more pertinent in view of the noticeably increasing disregard for basic non-pharmaceutical measures that have proven very successful. Face masks have now been turned into chin masks, social distancing and gatherings are returning to the pre-COVID era”, he said. He added that PTF has very often repeated that COVID-19 being a new virus, the world and its scientists continue to learn more about it daily. “Over the last one week, the scientific community have tried to explain some new manifestation of its spread.

“We continue to observe a reversal of gains in the battle mostly in countries around Europe which has prompted the WHO to express some concerns due to the fact that weekly cases have now exceeded those reported in March 2020 when the pandemic peaked in Europe. “Israel, has re-introduced a three-week lock down, the United Kingdom is considering another lock-down phase, Spain is enforcing a partial lockdown in Madrid, and France amidst protests by its citizens. They have also introduced stricter measures to contain the virus.

“Similar stories are coming from South Korea, Iran and the number of fatalities is approaching 200,000 in the USA. The WHO has, thus, advised that everybody should learn from lessons of the first wave especially as “no one is safe until everyone is safe”, he said. He shared with Nigerians a global picture to buttress the foregoing. “Over the last three days, the global cases passed the 31 million mark and it took only four days to get there from the 30th million. The USA crossed 7 million cases and continues to report a high daily caseload of over 30, 000 daily. We continue to see highest daily numbers from India”.

He urged all travellers to ensure that they complete all pre-boarding and post-arrival processes, especially on the portal to facilitate seamless arrivals at the airports. “We cannot afford the importation of the virus. We appeal strongly to all Nigerians to persuade their relations arriving Nigeria to self-isolate upon arrival, as required and test on day seven as prescribed. PTF will continue to work with our partners from the private sector to fine tune the protocols for international travellers, especially those arriving in Nigeria”, he added.

He wished to underscore the need to overcome fatigue in this fight against the virus. “We simply cannot afford it. This is the time to test more, detect more, isolate more and treat more. Go out and get tested. Seek help if you are positive. Persuade your friends and relations that have just arrived Nigeria especially from high burden countries to self-isolate and get tested on day 7, post arrival”, he said.

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