COVID-19: FG urges Nigerians to assist in contact tracing

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PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha
PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha

THE federal government has called on Nigerians to help the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, in contact tracing. Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation, SGF, and chairman, Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19, said they have received reports about citizens refusing to help with contact tracing as well as going into isolation after testing positive.

Speaking at the national briefing on Thursday, June 4, Mustapha noted that it is in the interest of everybody that contacts are traced so as to slow down the spread. “It is also in our interest to go into isolation facilities for close monitoring. A number of fatalities have been recorded due to change in the condition of patients, while staying outside the isolation facilities.

“Our appeal is that if agents of the state get in touch with you regarding testing, contact tracing activities, please cooperate. Also, let’s be prepared to be quarantined and to monitor our health for onset of symptoms because it is important for us to break the chain of transmission and prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in our dear country.

“Earlier in the week we raised the red flag and enumerated our efforts to cut down the rate of infection among medical workers. The NCDC is stepping up training on infection, prevention and control to slow this emerging situation down. We need our health workers to be healthy and available. As always, we remain very proud of you all.

“We are now in the planting season and our farmers have been involved in land preparation and planting of crops. To guarantee a seamless flow of agricultural activities, the guidelines have exempted the agricultural value chain from the restrictions put in place. It is, therefore, important that we do everything possible to guarantee our food security by supporting our hardworking farmers to function. I, therefore appeal to all the various task forces and security personnel at the sub-national levels to ensure easy passage of these inputs to our farmers.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to inform you that we have continued to receive support from our development partners. Yesterday, the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, delivered test reagents, kits and a PCR Machine. We are appreciative of this gesture and note that the equipment will go a long way in boosting our capacity,” he said.

According to Mustapha, the PTF will continue to observe the take-off of phase two and implementation of the additional guidelines nationwide. He noted that state oversight of this phase of the response is very critical. “The response needs to be decentralized to the LGA level, identifying high burden LGAs and ensuring mapping of adequate support to rapidly trace, test and treat cases.

“States need to drive aggressive campaigns to engage communities in order to address behavior change and debunk misconceptions and stigma. Traditional and religious institutions have a role to play in sensitizing communities about COVID 19. In the last couple of days, the PTF has received inquiries on some aspects of the guidelines.  I wish to inform all Nigerians that they have been simplified as much as possible and the dissemination has already commenced through the electronic and print media. The National Coordinator will continue to elaborate on the guidelines frequently.

“As we approach the weekend, we remind the public to be aware of the guidelines set for restricted opening of places of worship. National guidelines have been shared with the states and we expect that protocols will be agreed with religious leaders. Compliance is important so as to avoid unwanted consequences that put the lives of people at risk of contracting COVID19. We urge utmost caution at all times. The PTF will continue to monitor the overall compliance to the easing of restriction as well as evolution of the outbreak. However, we will not hesitate to review as we progress, should the situation warrant, avoiding preventable risks of transmission.

“You will recall that the hydroxychloroquine in the on-going solidarity trial on effective treatments for COVID-19 was temporarily halted by the WHO on 25th May, 2020 pending review of all safety data by the Solidarity Trial Data Safety Monitoring Committee (DSMC). The WHO, as part of efforts to find a cure to the COVID-19, has resumed the inclusion of patients in the hydroxychloroquine arm of the study. The PTF, however, advises against self-medication in all circumstances.”

– June 04, 2020 @ 18:20 GMT |

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