COVID-19: Nigeria yet to reach pandemic peak ― PTF

• Says all LGAs likely to be affected

The Presidential Task Force has warned that with 46,577 confirmed positive cases in the country, the COVID-19 pandemic is yet to reach its peak.

The Chairman of the task force and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, who stated this during Monday’s briefing in Abuja, also alerted that all 774 Local Government Areas in the country are likely to be affected by the virus.

He admonished that the low test/case confirmation should not be misinterpreted as the virus being overcome even as he said more needs to be done to ramp up testing.

Mustapha said: “Ladies and gentlemen, the numbers are surging, community spread has taken root and expanded beyond the urban areas. The watchword is vigilance and taking extra care.

“Nigeria, with 46,577 confirmed cases and 945 cumulative deaths, remains respectively the third and fourth highest in these parameters.

“As we emphasised at the last briefing, Nigeria is yet to reach the peak of the pandemic.

“Therefore, the low test/ case confirmation numbers coming out daily should not be misinterpreted to mean that we have overcome.

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“We have over time ramped up testing but more needs to be done to raise the quantum of test per million. Our analysis has however shown that: five states still account for 60% of cumulative cases; 689 out of 774 LGAs have reported a case; 85 LGAs in 20 States still remain with no testing done and no case Reported, and 50% of all cases are in 20 per cent LGAs.”

He noted that as the nation makes progress in new eased lockdown phase, continual monitoring of global and national science and data remains the basis for strengthening our efforts to contain the virus.

According to him, key sectors that the PTF will be watching in addition to the general level of compliance are the education and transportation sectors.

He noted that schools are gradually reopening with the commencement of preparations for critical examinations as guidelines have already been issued by the Federal Ministry of Education to all stakeholders.

For the transportation sector, he said the PTF continues to follow the developments in railway and air transportation respectively, admonishing Nigerians and sector stakeholders to ensure compliance with the various non-pharmaceutical measures already in place.

He also assured that the PTF and the Federal Ministry of Aviation are working rapidly towards reopening of the international flights.

Mustapha stated that the PTF will also be looking closely at the issue of Risk Communication and Community Engagement, adding that Messaging and consultations will be intensified to drive the level of awareness and compliance to the wider population using mediums and platforms that are most effective generally and specifically.

He added: “Today, the global numbers of confirmed cases surpassed 20 million and 750,000 deaths. These statistics remain serious warning signals accompanied by pains and anguish to families and friends that have lost loved ones.

“Africa’s confirmed cases have surpassed one million mark which is a landmark. The challenge, however, is that the true numbers could be higher because we suspect strongly that for every reported case, up to seven might have been missed.”

The SGF expressed delight that many survivors are telling their stories and sharing them in the social media, saying: “The stories of those who doubted the existence of the virus and became unfortunately infected and are now expressing appreciation for the timely intervention of the case management team provide compelling proof that the virus is real.

“I am also happy to note that the electronic media has taken up our challenge of joining the risk communication as depicted over the weekend with the face to face interview conducted by the Arise News team.

“It is also important I inform you that Nigeria continues to play its role in supporting the fight against COVID-19 on the West Africa Sub-Region. Last week, men and women of the Nigerian Airforce distributed PPEs and medical supplies donated by the West African Health Organisation and other partners to our neighbours.

“However, to show true leadership against the pandemic, we, as a people and country need to contain the virus by doing all we can to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the country at large.”

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

Nigeria yet to reach pandemic peak

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