COVID-19 care now available for all who need it ― PTF

•Says hot climate not antidote for coronavirus

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday assured that Nigeria’s testing strategy is yielding results, asserting that the country can now give care to any patient who needs it.

Chairman of the task force and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, stated this during its briefing in Abuja as he observed the end of the first phase of eased lockdown to gradually reopen the economy.

“The statistics on COVID-19 have continued to come out daily and the indications are that our testing strategy is yielding results because we can now give care to those that need it,” Mustapha said.

He said as the PTF continues to assess the level of compliance with the guidelines and the impact on slowing down the spread of the virus, it will make further recommendations before the second phase commences.

The SGF regretted what he called a high level of non-compliance to guidelines from the initial evaluation which he warned portends grave self-inflicted danger, saying: “This fact has made it imperative for me to re-echo our call for taking personal responsibility.”

While highlighting the guidelines established to contain the spread of the virus, Mustapha also pointed out that certain economic activities had been exempted to enable the country to move on and therefore urged relevant authorities to apply for the exemptions.

He explained: “You will recall that when the new measures were rolled out and published, we ensured that certain economic activities pertaining to food production and distribution were exempted. This, for the avoidance of doubts, includes farming activities.

“We recognise the fact that we are in the planting season and the nation cannot afford to prevent our hardworking farmers from going to their farms.

“We, therefore, use this medium to reemphasize that farmers fall within the list of exemptions and urge state governors, local government authorities and security agencies to please allow them to carry out their activities. Our food security is critical to our national security.”

The PTF boss congratulated frontline health workers who he said have collectively nursed back to health a total of 1,071 Nigerians already discharged from the various isolation treatment centres.

While noting that these health workers have put in all, even beyond the call of duty, to save lives he similarly congratulated all those that have been discharged and urged them to come out and tell their stories.

He said: “We need to tell Nigerians that COVID-19 is real, that it is deadly and that prevention is better than cure. There is no better convincing and compelling evidence of the reality of the dangers than your experience.”

Mustapha expressed sadness over the attitude of some Nigerian evacuees from the UAE, UK & USA, who are on mandatory quarantine protocol.

He said: “Nigerians have in recent days been served with different audio-visual clips by some of these returnees. The PTF is saddened by the conduct of some of the returnees who fail to adhere to the conditions attached to their quarantine.

“I strongly urge them to obey the rules in the facilities and also urge their friends and relations to recognize the contagious nature of the disease by desisting from visiting them. Complying is in the interest of the visiting relation and in the overall public interest.”

The PTF chairman welcomed the resolution of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) to take steps to ramp up testing and provide the prescribed minimum number of bed spaces in their isolation/treatment centres.

He assured the States that the NCDC will continue to provide technical support and standardization guidelines, adding that “it will also continue to firmly pursue its surveillance activities nationwide.

The SGF urged the States to recognize the essence of a strong partnership and always allow overarching public interest to prevail.

The PTF boss reminded all Nigerians that “in this battle, vigilance is required, self-preservation is important, collective action is necessary and compliance with guidelines is imperative. All these will help us prevent infection.”

In his remark at the briefing, National Coordinator of PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, dispelled several misconceptions about COVID-19 including rumours that hot weather is an antidote to the disease and that the virus was created as a biological weapon.

He said: “No matter how sunny or humid the weather is, anybody can get COVID-19. Nigeria has recorded a total of over 5,000 cases to date irrespective of the fact that we are actually a hot country.

“There is no scientific evidence to show that coronavirus cannot survive under hot weather.”

He maintained that the only way to avoid the infection is by observing prescribed protocols such as social distancing, washing hands regularly, wearing face masks, among others.

Aliyu also assured that people who recovered from the disease and no longer excrete the virus are safe, saying therefore that there is no need to stigmatize them.

“Once you recover from COVID, the data is pretty robust that antibody levels are very likely to continue to ensure immunity for some years,” he asserted.

He also warned people not to ingest bleach of ethanol as a way to cure or prevent the disease as he advised that the substances can kill.

 

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