COVID-19: “We Are Not Out Of The Woods Yet” – PTF Cautions Nigerians

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has again warned Nigerians not to relax, saying the country is still in danger of coronavirus infections.

Speaking at the task force’s National Briefing on Thursday, its chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said Nigerians must prepare for a new wave of infections.

He urged Nigerians to take responsibility and keep the nation safe by adhering to all COVID-19 preventive measures.

“On the African Continent, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia reported the highest cases in the last 24 hours. South Africa now accounts for 38% of total cases on the continent. Nigeria now ranks 6th down in Africa and we don’t have to let our guards down for a second wave,” Mustapha said.

“The number of cases has been fluctuating lately and that is an indication that we are not out of the woods yet. The cases in Lagos where multiple infections were recorded in two schools are typical examples of the danger of reopening institutions without the required measures.

“The PTF urges Nigerians to take responsibility to keep our nation safe by adhering to all COVID-19 preventive measures. It is our collective responsibility. We must all rally round each other to stop this pandemic from destroying our lives and economy.

“The PTF believes strongly that now is the time to raise the tempo of not just our national response but also our preparedness for a new wave of the pandemic or any other epidemic for that matter. For example, it has been strongly observed that places of worship, gatherings and other events have dumped the use of face masks and adherence to other NPIs.”

He noted that the task force is still concerned about the mental health of survivors of the disease, adding that it has intensified efforts to take care of them.

The SGF also urged Nigerians to come out for regular testing, lamenting the nation’s low testing rate.

“The PTF is still very much concerned about the mental health of survivors of the COVID 19 virus. In this regard the PTF is following reports from researches around the world regarding the state of psychiatric health of survivors and has intensified plans for in-country response under the treatment and post-treatment regimes,” Mustapha continued.

“Let me use this opportunity to urge all Nigerians to come out for regular testing. Our testing rate is very unencouraging. Mauritius has the highest tests per million (218,535) while Nigeria stands at 3,605 per million. This is grossly too low to be at a comfortable stage of defeating the pandemic considering the size of our population.”

Meanwhile, the PTF chairman commiserated with Ghanaians over the death of their former president, Jerry Rawlings, and the Palestinian authority over the death of PLO Chief Negotiator, Saeb Erakat, from COVID-19.

Mustapha also thanked all the task force’s development partners, including CACOVID and the media.

‘This afternoon, we received the report of demise of the former President of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings,” he stated.

“We commiserate with the President, Government and people of our sister country and pray for the repose of his soul. Similarly, on the 10th of November, 2020, COVID took another high-profile victim in the person of Saeb Erakat, PLO Chief Negotiator. We also commiserate with the Palestinian authority on this great loss. This will no doubt have a tremendous impact on the peace process in the Middle-East.

“Let me use this opportunity to as always, thank all our development partners, the CACOVID and the media. Without your support, this effort would not have travelled far.”

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