By Anayo Ezugwu
BOSS Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation and chairman, Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19, has said that Nigeria has made tremendous progress in the fight against Coronavirus. He said the country was beginning to notice that the virus curve is flattening.
Speaking at the national briefing on Thursday, September 17, to mark six months of the inauguration of the PTF, Mustapha said this positive development should be taken with vigilance and cautious optimism. “This is based on the fact that we are convinced that we have not tested enough, we have only recently reopened our international flights and that nations that had opened up their economies have done a re-think, following the resurgence of the cases in their countries.
“The PTF is closely watching the developments at the airports and taking-in comments and observations sent by well-meaning Nigerians and passengers. Most of the comments are around the protocols and requirements for departure, arrivals, testing in-country, self-isolation. While the PTF regrets all inconveniences experienced by arriving passengers, I wish to state that the overriding public interest is a critical factor propelling the policies.
“The issues with access to the portal, cost, pre-boarding validity timing and other factors remain work in progress and shall be reviewed as and when necessary. The PTF shall remain open to your suggestions and comments. The National Coordinator and the DG-NCAA will expand on the steps already taken and upcoming ones during this briefing. In the course of the week, the PTF engaged further with Senate Joint Committee on Health and Aviation to chart the way forward. We thank the leadership of the Senate for the opportunity and the deepening of synergy.
“The discussion was robust and fruitful. The nation will be celebrating her 60th diamond anniversary on 1st October, 2020. This is a landmark celebration and the programmes will be unveiled by Monday next week. This celebration is also significant because we are in the middle of a pandemic. We have TOGETHER participated in this National Response and also recognized that this year, 2020, has been trying for humanity. This celebration should therefore be both joyous and reflective for us all. We urge you to remain mindful of the fact that there is a new normal and that the COVID-19 is virulent and dangerous. We urge you to continue to take responsibility,” he said.
Mustapha, therefore, appealed to all health workers particularly, JOHESU members, that the nation can ill-afford any further disruption to its health systems. He explained that the on-going strike has been very costly in terms of human lives, but such losses can be avoided.
“Government shall continue to do its best to push through the negotiations with the unions and hopefully, reason shall prevail. Let me remind us to continue to take responsibility by observing all the non-pharmaceutical measures prescribed. They remain our best fighting chances for surviving this virus.”
– Sept. 18, 2020 @ 13:55 GMT |