COVID-19: Suspend festive trip – FG warns Nigerians

By Oluwaseun Sonde

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The Presidential Task Force PTF on COVID-19 has warned Nigerians not to travel during the Christmas and New year season to reduce the spread of the deadly virus coronavirus.

The Chairman of PTF and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha disclosed this during press conference in Abuja on Monday, he advised that such trip should put on hold because the transmission of the virus has become “astronomical”.

According to him, “Ahead of the upsurge in travels for the Christmas and New Year festivities, we urge strongly that for this year, such trips should be put on hold firmly because of the risks involved.

“The transmission rate has simply become astronomical. New cases can emerge in places that have not been by affected if people travel and gather for festivities”, he said.

He added that Nigerians can lower the risks by adhering to the non-pharmaceutical measures and celebrate safely. “There will always be many more festive seasons to celebrate.

“New clusters of cases can emerge in places that have so far been unaffected as people travel and gather for festivities”, he noted.

Mustapha, who expressed worry about the spike in the infection rate in the US and Europe, said Nigerians’ compliance with non-pharmaceutical measures is extremely low.

“This is particularly so because our risk perception is low in-country. Our compliance with non-pharmaceutical measures is extremely low to the extent that Nigerians now think COVID-19 is no more.

“The response of citizens to testing and detection is very low. The risk of importation will be higher with the opening of our airspace, and the numbers in Nigeria, though appearing low over the last two weeks, has been rising gradually’, he said.

He also expressed concern about international travellers who refuse to present themselves for testing on arriving the country, adding that such persons would be sanctioned.

“Some that have paid for post-arrival testing have failed to show up for the tests. PTF is concluding steps to work with relevant institutions and legal authorities to impose appropriate sanctions on those that default on the protocols”, he said.

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