Mr Boss Mustapha, Chairman Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 has said that the government’s goal is to ultimately “flatten the curve” of virus in the country.
Mustapha said this at the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 news briefing on Friday in Abuja.
He said that to achieve this, the government needs the full understanding and cooperation of all Nigerians.
He said that the PTF has received feedback from Nigerians on the challenges of the lockdown, and the PTF was doing its best to ensure that the palliatives reach all deserving persons with ease in the country.
He assured Nigerians that arrangements were also in top gear to expand the palliatives.
The SGF also said that the federal government has developed a Protocol on points of entry, to guide the process of return/evacuation of Nigerians stranded abroad.
He said that details would be unveiled subsequently.
Mustapha used the occasion to warn Nigerians against spreading fake news.
Also speaking, Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health said that the recent marked increase in number of confirmed cases in the country was traceable to the scaled-up implementation of its new case-finding strategy, as well as a result of rising community transmission.
Ehanire urged Nigerians who have fever or respiratory symptoms of unknown/unclear origin to immediately use a mask, isolate themselves from friends and family, and call the National Emergency Number 112.
The Minister said that Nigerians were obliged to disclose their records to health personnel.
He said that Nigerians should disregard rumours and sensationalism.
“Stop spreading fake news. Observe all hygiene rules and take all necessary precautions,” he said.
The Minister, however said that all equipment the government received as donations were decontaminated before use.
“It’s a routine process for all donations,” he added.
In his contribution, the Director-General, NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said that one of the agency’s goals was to decentralise testing completely in the country.
Ihekweazu said that the agency has developed a new strategy to scale up access to COVID-19 testing in the country.
“It is now up on our website: covid19.ncdc.gov.ng/resource/guide.”
“So if you are interesting in supporting us on testing, check it out,” he said.
The DG said that it was not in the agency’s priority at the moment to accredit private laboratories, but they have started because they needed to scale capacity.
He said that the Africa Union (AU) has been a big supporter and enabler of the work in NCDC.
He noted that the first four Nigerians trained in COVID-19 testing were trained by the AU, through the Africa Center for Disease Control.
The NCDC boss said that it was too early to discuss cause-and-effect or make any conclusions about Nigeria’s number of deaths and number of fatalities, or compare where the agency were with the rest of the world.
Meanwhile, Dr Sanni Aliyu, Coordinator PTF, said it was important that as the farming season begins, farmers would be able to access their farms, farm products and fertilisers.
Aliyu said that Nigerians must fight the stigmatisation of COVID-19 .
“We must not shun people we know who show signs of the virus. Instead, we must help them to contact the authorities and seek testing and treatment. Dignity is a right for everybody,” he advised.
He said that the PTF would continue to note increased inter-state movement that threatens to accelerate the spread of the virus.
Nigeria currently has 442 confirmed cases in 20 states.
13 deaths in all, 152 recoveries while 277 active cases being cared for in isolation and treatment centers.
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