COVID-19: Why ‘Doubting Thomases’ Must Change Their Behaviour Now – PTF

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Daily Metro NG

Nigerians still doubting the existence of coronavirus and its dangers should change their behaviour in their own interest and that of their loved ones by complying with COVID-19 protocols.

The chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19/Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, gave the advice on Monday during its regular national press briefing in Abuja.

“For our countrymen and women who still habour skepticism about the existence and dangers posed by the virus, we urge you to imbibe a change of behaviour by complying with the non-pharmaceutical measures prescribed.

“This appeal remains in your own interest and in the interest of your loved ones. Remember, always wear your mask, observe social distancing, avoid large gatherings and maintain proper hygiene,” Mustapha warned.

The PTF also appreciated religious leaders for leading the risk communication efforts, enjoining them not to relent given the fact that the partnership already formed will go a long way in ensuring that the battle is won from the rural areas right up to the urban centres.

He also urged the stakeholders in the education sector to ensure strict compliance with the prescribed protocols as schools are re-opened for final-year pupils and students, adding that doing the contrary will provide a ground for increased community transmission of the virus.

“Similarly, we informed you about the date that exit examination classes in schools would reopen preparatory to the commencement of examination. I wish to restate that the Education sector is critical for the development of our children and our nation.

“Reopening the sector is also a source of concern based on the fact that the school system remains a veritable ground for increasing community transmission if appropriate protocols are not put in place and more importantly adhered to. In this regard, the PTF wishes to implore stakeholders to ensure that the agreed protocols are put in place and measures strictly adhered to,” he said.

Mustapha added that the PTF has continued to push forward with the Community engagement, risk communication and support to states of the Federation, noting that there is an on-going surveillance in the high burden Local Government Areas.

The PTF chairman also revealed that the Federal Government was supporting the States to firm up their Incidence Action Plans preparatory to their accessing the World Bank facility for the fight against COVID-19 even as he thanked Nigerians for their involvement in the Nationa Response.

“The PTF wishes to thank all Nigerians that continue to respond to call for involvement in the National Response.  In this regard, we thank the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, for donating four motorised modular fumigators (two each to the PTF and the FCT).

“In the same vein, we want to appreciate the UN Basket and European Union for delivering the second tranche of the PPEs, medical supplies and equipment.

“Ladies and gentlemen, as mentioned during our last press briefing of Monday 27th July, 2020, the PTF will submit its 6th Interim Report to Mr. President and subject to his approval, we hope to present the way forward to Nigerians at the next briefing on Thursday 6th August, 2020,” Mustapha said.

He further revealed that President  Muhammadu Buhari in his capacity as the ECOWAS Champion on the Containment of COVID-19 in West Africa, has made a donation of N67million worth of PPEs and medical supplies to the government and people of Sao Tome and Principe.

Meanwhile, also speaking at the beriefing, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has said that his ministry was working with all relevant stakeholders to reduce Nigeria’s COVID-19 fatality rate from 2% to less than 1%.

“Our objective is to reduce case fatalities to less than 1% from present 2%, and we are working on innovative interventions with prospects of improving survival chances, especially for the elderly and those with co-morbidities. 

“We will work with State governments to prepare necessary space and human resources at General Hospitals or PHCs, to be trained for setting up at least one sample collection site at every LGA in due course, with efficient sample retrieval logistics to convey samples to laboratories,” Ehanire said.

As at Monday, August 3, 2020, 888 lives have sadly been lost so far to coronavirus out of the total 43,841 confirmed cases, while 20,308 persons have been treated and discharged.

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