The Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 (PTF) has warned that the recent case of infection amongst some students sitting for the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations calls for more vigilance by the education sector and all Nigerians .
PTF also revealed that Nigeria now has capacity for 15,000 tests per day but the country is currently recording between 3,000 to 6,000 test daily.
The PTF noted that this low numbers is due to Nigerians not subjecting themselves for testing and therefore, called on more people to come out to get tested.
This revelation was made by the Chairman of PTF and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha who spoke extensively at the press briefing yesterday in Abuja.
He noted that the World Health Organisation (W.HO.) had issued warnings on Vaccine Nationalism and that young people are aiding the spread of the virus.
He stated that the latter is more germane for us as Nigerians with our over 80% youthful population and should give us more cause to be on our guard.
In his words, “It would border on extreme selfishness for our youths to believe that since they are asymptomatic carriers they can carry on with life as they please and being asymptomatic does not guarantee immunity forever.
” The PTF is, however, encouraged by the fact that majority of our youths are in the vanguard of this fight and still call on the few non-conforming ones to join. This call becomes more imperative when we realise that from an initial ten (10) hotspot Local Government Areas in the country, we moved to sixteen (16) and now have twenty (20) of such, indicating spread to other areas. More worrisome is the fact that the initial hotspot areas were easily accessible to medical support. Albeit, the new ones are areas more removed from such support. So far, our National Response has shown that Nigeria is following the science through effective case management but need to improve our testing”.
“The PTF continues to analyse and rely on data to forestall any sign of upsurge and adapting best global practices to sustain successes. That Nigeria, along with South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Algeria contributed to the recorded lowest weekly coronavirus confirmed cases is a testament of our successes. The challenge, therefore, remains for us to improve on the path of driving the pandemic out of Nigeria so that we can go back to our normal.
Mustapha noted that as “the country further open up the aviation sector, with the planned operation of international flights from 29th August, 2020 beginning with the Nnamdi Azikiwe and Murtala Mohammed International Airports (NAIA and MMIA), the PTF seeks the cooperation of all stakeholders to work at arriving mechanisms that would be mutually beneficial to all stakeholders. The Honourable Minister of Aviation would provide further details in the course of this briefing”.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who briefed Nigerians at the meeting, noted that male preponderance remains high, with more infections in the age group below 50 years, but more fatalities in the higher age brackets and among the vulnerable with comorbidities
His words; “The changing dynamics of the virus and the disease make it necessary for us to continue to review our response strategies, ensure we train and update our health workers on the latest and most effective approach to treatment of the disease and tailor our procurement in the light of knowledge gained”.
The Honourable Minister stated that Nigeria is also working with World Health Organization to finalize enrolment with ACT Accelerator, a global mechanism tracking and sponsoring research Organizations working on COVID-19 vaccine development.
He said, “We are also interested in the COVAX facility, a GAVI supported global initiative to procure and assure equitable access to vaccines, as soon as they are available, especially for Lower and lower middle Income Countries (LMIC). This will prioritize Nigeria for allocation of a part of 2 billion vaccines doses that will be secured, in a special plan to protect the interests of poorer countries”.