284 views | Akanimo Sampson | April 18, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic is surging in Nigeria with a total of 493 positive cases.
So far, the virus has terminated the lives of 17 citizens.
But the Federal Government is saying that for the country returning to normal life will depend on the success of the fight against the pandemic.
The way the death toll and positive cases are rising in the country, Nigerians need to collaborate with government in the effort to achieve success in the war against the rampaging pandemic.
Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Pandemic and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said this during Friday’s media briefing by the task force.
He notes that the task force which was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari a month ago has the primary responsibility of flattening the curve of COVID-19 and urged citizens’ cooperation to achieve its goals.
“This is a long-term effort and we should exercise patience as we gradually walk out of danger, reopen our society and her economic life. This virus has no vaccine.
‘’Success will mean a return to normalcy and we can only claim victory when cases are no longer increasing, we have no unknown sources for cases; deaths are no longer increasing; more admissions are discharged. The only path to these is your full collaboration and compliance”, he says.
Mustapha explains that the PTF has continued to present a daily situation report to Nigerians to engage with them and to eliminate misinformation, rumours, and fake news. “One month down the line, the PTF has worked in close concert with the international community, the private sector and all Nigerians but so much more remain to be accomplished.
“As we have always told you, this is a war with a vicious enemy and our goal is to ultimately flatten the curve. To achieve this ultimate objective therefore, (i.e flatten the curve of infection) the PTF craves the full understanding and cooperation of Nigerians.
“We, therefore, continue to appeal to all our citizens to obey the orders to stay at home and respect the advisories on personal hygiene, social distancing, report symptoms to the nearest appropriate medical facility, stay at home and go into isolation for the sake of your loved ones and the society. This appeal can never be overemphasised”, he said.
He has also warned those engaging in spreading fake news to desist, pointing out that security agents have already commenced an investigation into cases of fake news that is distracting the fight against COVID-19.
On the lockdown, he said the essence was to curtail the spread of the disease, adding, “I want to use this opportunity to emphatically warn all purveyors of fake news capable of misleading the public and causing distraction in our collective effort to fight this war.
“The objective of the restriction orders is to save the lives of Nigerians from the pandemic and not to cause pains. The Police and other services have launched investigations into the various reports and the Presidential Task Force shall update you when it is concluded.”
On demands by Nigerians abroad to return home as a result of the outbreak, he said “so many Nigerians are clamouring to return home.
“While we are finalizing arrangements for their evacuation, isolation and testing, I am pleased to inform you that the PTF has developed the Protocol on Points of Entry that will address this development going forward. Details will be unveiled subsequently.
“Recent data released by the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), has shown a rise in the number of cases in Kano. The state government has in response to the development imposed a lockdown and curfew in the state.
“The PTF will visit the state to evaluate the state of readiness and to guide the authorities in the management of the situation”, he said.
NCDC Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, says plans are on to scale up testing strategy. “We have published the national strategy to scale up #COVID19 testing in Nigeria which leverages on validated technology.
“Anyone who wishes to contribute to our strategy in any way, understand our plan and trajectory can key in.”
On his part, the PTF National Coordinator, Sani Aliyu, notes that the unrestrained inter-state movement would escalate the spread of the virus.
He reiterated the need to fight stigmatisation if the war must be won.
“We must fight the stigmatization of COVID:19. We must not shun people we know if they show symptoms. “Instead we must help them to contact the authorities and seek testing and treatment. Dignity is a right for everybody”, he says.
Meanwhile, NCDC announced that by 10:10 pm on Friday, April 17, there were 51 new confirmed cases of COVID-19.
NCDC, however, pointed out that 159 cases of COVID-19 have been successfully treated and discharged with the number of deaths rising to 17 in the country.
Of the 51 new cases, NCDC says they were reported from eight states with Lagos again producing the highest figure of 32. Others are Kano six, Kwara five, Oyo two, Katsina two, FCT two, Ekiti and Ogun having one case each.