COVID-19: PTF urges Nigeria to undergo testing


By Anayo Ezugwu

THE Presidential Task Force on Coronavirus has urged Nigerians to undergo virus testing. Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation and chairman of the PTF, says that there is need to overcome fatigue in the fight against the virus because the country simply cannot afford to go through it again.

Speaking at the national briefing on Monday, September 21, Mustapha said: this is the time to test more, detect more, isolate more and treat more. He urged Nigerians to 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.

“As we commence the activities marking 60th Independence Anniversary of our nation, the PTF is ramping up the risk communication and community engagement. Testing will be escalated under a national testing week programme,” he said.

According to Mustapha, this call is made more pertinent in view of the noticeably increasing disregard for basic non-pharmaceutical measures that have proven very successful. He regretted that face masks have now been turned into chin masks, social distancing and gatherings are returning to the pre-COVID era. He said the PTF will continue to work with its partners from the private sector to fine tune the protocols for international travellers, especially those arriving in Nigeria.

“We urge 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.”

The SGF warned Nigerians that the rising cases of COVID-19 across the world might lead to another lockdown. “Over the last one week, the scientific community have tried to explain some new manifestation of its spread and 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”.

“Let me share with you 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. More specifically, the lesson for us in Nigeria, is that in spite of appreciable progress recorded, we should be vigilant more than ever before, because we have opened our air spaces to international travels, we have relaxed a number of restrictions in opening up more sectors of the economy and schools are beginning to open in varying degrees.

“The call for greater vigilance is underscored by the fact that our economy has been seriously affected by the pandemic and we are pushing through our 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,” he said.

– Sept. 22, 2020 @ 17:15 GMT |

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