The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has urged Nigerians not to conduct usual Christmas festivities such as carol services this year.
Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), stated this during the weekly briefing of the task force in Abuja on Monday.
According to Ihekweazu, Christmas carols, travels and other gatherings during the festive season could turn out to be “super spreaders” of the coronavirus.
“This is really to re-emphasise the call by the PTF that many of the traditional meetings that we engage in at this time of the year, whether they are Christmas carols or festivals, trips, family gatherings, each of those could end up being a super spreader event.
“So, we must take this into consideration as we make our choices.”
The chairman of the taskforce and SSG to the President, Boss Mustapha said the PTF was escalating its surveillance and testing drive to ensure that the spread of the virus was effectively contained as the nation approaches the festive season.
“We shall continue to remind Nigerians that all non-essential trips should be put off this December. This is for your safety and good health,” he said.
Speaking on vaccines, the PTF chairman said while it was a significant achievement, it was however, important for the citizens to continue to comply with the non-pharmaceutical interventions before the vaccines would become available.
“The PTF is already working on the strategy for gaining access to the vaccine as soon as they are available,” he added.
The SGF also said over the past weeks, discussions have been held about the safety issues pertaining to the National Sports Festival scheduled to hold in Benin, Edo State.
He said new dates have been agreed upon early in 2021, before which, measures would be put in place to minimize infections.
The PTF advised Nigerians in the Diaspora not to consider coming home, urging them to celebrate Christmas and New Year wherever they are.
The PTF said;
“Nigerians outside the country, hopefully they will stay where they are. And for Nigerians in-country, we will also stay where we are.
The national coordinator, Aliyu disclosed that for every 1,000 passengers coming into the country, the nation records 10 positive cases of COVID-19.
“Please, for this period, if your travel is not essential, stay where you are. We are actively discouraging Nigerians abroad from coming home this Christmas because of COVID-19 and the number of infections we have outside the country.
“So, the message is; if you do not want to get stranded, if you do not want to bring COVID-19 to your elderly relatives in Nigeria, please stay where you are. There will be other holidays.”
NCDC on Monday night announced 145 new cases of COVID-19 in the country.
The new infections take the number of cases in the country to 67,557.