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Covid-19 pandemic not over, FG cautions Nigerians on dangers of non-compliance with safety protocols


By Joyce Remi-Babayeju

ABUJA (SundiataPost) – Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha has alerted Nigerians on the dangers of complacency and non-compliance with measures put in place to fight the pandemic.

Mustapha at the PTF COVID-19 national press briefing on Thursday in Abuja lamented that despite the PTF’s communication to Nigerians on the dangers inherent in not adhering to government’s safety measures in battling the pandemic, and said that presently all over the world there is no known vaccine for the virus.
He said, “All through the month, the PTF communicated to Nigerians in different ways, the dangers of complacency and non-compliance with measures prescribed for the fight against COVID-19. Particularly, Nigerians were reminded that there is presently no known vaccine for the virus and that all over the world, non-pharmaceutical measures still remained the most effective and avoiding being infected remains the best choice for everyone. “
He attributed people’s complacency largely to skepticism and ignorance about the disease and stigmatisation which is discouraging people from coming out to seek help or even to tell their stories.
“The nature of this pandemic demands that we must detect and treat it in order to address it. Let me emphasise, therefore, that COVID-19 is not a condition to be ashamed of as it has no respect for status, nationality, race, creed, tribe, etc. Every person infected must be treated to prevent spread and avoidable fatalities.’
“As we deepen the community engagement and risk communication phase of our national response, the PTF still reiterates the need for ownership, taking responsibility and expanding the scope of sensitisation, all of which combine to make our ability to maximally detect, trace, isolate and treat nationwide successful.”
According to Mustapha, the recent number of confirmed cases which stands at 20,020 and fatalities released in the last few days have been on the high side, attributing it to increased testing. He added that it also goes to confirm the extent of the spread within our communities, especially the 21 high burden LGAs identified as accounting for over 60% of infections nationwide.

Comparing Nigeria to Brazil, the PTF chairman said that the case of Brazil has exceeded the one million mark of confirmed cases, noting that the Latin American country shares several cultural, demographic and climatic affinities with Nigerians and this calls for some lesson to be learnt from them to make people to change their behavior towards the pandemic.

He reiterated the non-pharmaceutical measures put in place by the PTF to be internalised by people as the following wearing of facemask in public, keeping social distancing; good respiratory hygiene, washing of hands regularly and avoiding large gatherings.

Others include general changing our behavior; and taking responsibility, adding that all the measures listed and many more are meant to be observed in a combined manner, in order to make them effective in saving lives.
“These are our fighting opportunities for survival”, he advised.

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, announced that the pandemic story is not all that of hopelessness as there is progress made globally and domestically to search for a cure for COVID-19 as 4,000 people have volunteered for a vaccine trial in the United Kingdom which gives some room for greater hope and the country similarly looks forward to the outcomes of validation processes for submissions made by some Nigerian scientists.
Ehanire disclosed that the PTF have come out with guidelines for the establishment of Community Support Centres (CSCs) in selected clusters of Local Government Areas (LGAs) for the management of COVID-19 cases.
These community support centres will strengthen the capacity of the health system at the community level to respond to the outbreak and result in the reduction of the transmission of COVID-19 within communities in high burden and high density states, he said.

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