PTF fumes over persistent violation of guidelines; threatens to review measures

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, on Thursday, expressed concerns over continuous violation of the guidelines put in place after the lockdown was relaxed and warned that the PTF may be forced to review the measures already taken.

Speaking at the daily briefing of the PTF in Abuja, the National Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu lamented the refusal of Nigerians to obey the protocols and guidelines issued following the relaxation of the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the FCT.

He warned that the PTF may be forced to review the measures put in place for the lockdown to be eased if Nigerians continue to disregard the guidelines.

The National Coordinator gave the warning even as the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire stated that all the repatriated returnees from UAE, UK, US and other countries abroad would be tested for COVID-19; and those positive among them would be safely and securely isolated and treated until they test negative.

Already, the minister said that the 265 Nigerians who were evacuated from the UAE and arrived in the country on Wednesday have begun 14 days mandatory supervised-based quarantine; and would all be tested after completion.

While lamenting what he called a consistent violation of the guidelines, Dr Aliyu, the national coordination said: “I will continue to express the concern of PTF with regards to the consistent violations of the guidelines that we have released at the beginning of last week. We had a lockdown of Lagos, Ogun and the FCT for five weeks in other to slow down the spread of the epidemic and enable us to prepare well. The gains of this lockdown will be destroyed if people continue to violate the guidelines that we have.”

He said the government was doing everything to enforce the guidelines, adding that the people should cooperate with the government to achieve the purpose

Dr Aliyu said: “We are doing whatever we can to enforce it, but we also need the support of the public we would provide a lot of awareness in a situation where it is not clear on what people are supposed to do or not. There is no doubt that COVID-19 is with us, it will be with us for some times, it will eventually go away because every epidemic does, but what we don’t want is for COVID-19 to go away with us, or go along with us because people will die if we do not agree to comply with the Guidelines. I think my plea with the public is to please respect and follow the guidelines that we have.”

Also, the minister, who was speaking on the arrival of Nigerians who were evacuated from UAE and their COVID-19 status, said those tested positive for COVID-19 among them would be instantly transferred to the Treatment Centre for treatment and care.

He, however, explained that after 14 days, those without symptoms of COVID-19 are free to go.

Giving the update, the health minister, who expressed sadness that Nigeria has recorded 103 COVID-19 related fatalities; called on the returnees to cooperate fully with the authority if they observe any imperfection in our system.

Ehanire said: “I join the SGF in welcoming the first batch of Nigerian nationals, who were successfully repatriated yesterday evening to Lagos from Dubai. They have entered into mandatory supervised 14-day quarantine, in 2 designated hotels, in line with laid down protocols. They will be tested for COVID-19 and any person testing positive shall be invited to a treatment facility.

“I appeal to our returning citizens to bear with us and cooperate with authorities, especially if they perceive imperfections in our arrangements, as this is a test run, the first of these exercises. I shall here also request all states to embark on preparing at least 300-bed spaces for COVID-19 isolation and treatment.

“As testing is scaled up and more persons with COVID-19 infection are identified, it is necessary that they are safely and securely isolated and treated with dignity until they test negative, to break our chain of transmission.”

He appealed to all health professionals and associated personnel, to diligently follow all safety and infection prevention and control protocols both inside and outside health facilities and not to indulge in unauthorized treatment of COVID-19 cases.



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