The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the Covid-19 pandemic is due to submit a report from its technical session to President Muhammadu Buhari next week Tuesday where it will recommend a review of the course to further reopen the economy.
The chairman of the task force and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, represented by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said the current realities of the pandemic has made it imperative to be cautious.
He said: “Last Tuesday, the PTF held the end of term technical session. It afforded the PTF the opportunity to assess the progress made and the present dangers that confront us.
“The Report of the PTF will be submitted to the President on Tuesday, 22nd December 2020. Current realities, however, point to the fact that the course of further opening up of the economy may have to be reviewed.”
Mustapha pointed out that the events and statistics of the last two weeks within and outside Nigeria have been very mixed with developments surrounding vaccines providing the cheering news while on the other hand, there is a spike in number of infections at home and abroad.
“The real threat is upon humanity and the progress made in the global health sector in the last five decades or more,” he said.
He affirmed that Nigeria has entered a second wave of infections, bringing with it the risk of losing the gains from the national response.
He, therefore, stressed the need to adhere to the non-pharmaceutical initiatives to control the pandemic.
The SGF stated: “In Nigeria, the indication is that we have entered a second wave of infections and we stand the risk of not just losing the gains from the hard work of the last nine months but also not losing the precious lives of our citizens.
“The PTF believes that if we do the right things, adhere to the NPIs and step up our testing and detection, loss of lives will be minimised and the rising curve will begin to flatten out.
“The festive season is here and we remain conscious of the fact that large gathering events will take place. It is our strong advice that all non-essential trips be cancelled outrightly. We also urge citizens to avoid large gathering events.”
Mustapha regretted that even as the nation is in a potentially difficult phase of the Covid-19 resurgence, accessing the hope offered by the arrival of the vaccine is still some time ahead.
He pointed out that the vaccines alone cannot cure the virus, rather, a combination of initiatives including the non-pharmaceutical initiatives.
He further noted “that more than ever before, we need compliance; that we shall escalate our risk communication and community engagement strategies to higher levels; lives have been lost but we must slow down the pace of the spread; and at the rate at which the numbers are rising should be examined and that our vigilance and compliance with the NPIs should be intensified.”