Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha, has apologised over violations that took place during the burial of the late Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, in Abuja on Saturday.
Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, at the PTF daily briefing on COVID19 on Monday in Abuja, recognised regrettably, the unintentional violation of the principles and protocols that form the core of its messaging to Nigerians, at the funeral of the late Chief of Staff.
“These principles for emphasis, include: the guidance provided on mass gatherings; social distancing; Personal Hygiene; and restriction of movements,” he noted.
He added that lessons have been learnt and appropriate measures have been taken to close all gaps.
“We assure all Nigerians of their safety and the determination of the PTF to combat the pandemic.
“The significant increase in the number of cases and distribution across states underscore the importance of remaining focused as citizens and as a nation because of the enormity of the challenges ahead,” he said.
The SGF noted that this was the time for all hands to be on deck so that the PTF could improve on its delivery.
“We must all come together because we face a common enemy and potential risk. We must flatten the curve at all cost and restore our country to full activity,” he advised.
The PTF chairman stated that COVID-19 had claimed the lives of several Nigerians and the PTF sincerely condoles with all families that have lost loved ones to the virus.
He said that every life was precious to the government and every loss challenges the efforts government had put into the fight, demanding that Nigerians do more in their response.
“On April 17, we lost the Chief of Staff to the President, Kyari. He was fully committed to ensuring that Nigeria responded effectively to the challenge of COVID-19 and he died in the line of duty.
“We will always remember his robust efforts, his dedication and unwavering commitment to strengthening Nigeria’s capacity to manage the impact of this pandemic,’’ he said.
According to him, this development has renewed our resolve to remain focused on the response to COVID-19 in honour of the late Chief of Staff and those that have fallen victim to this pandemic.
This, he said, is indeed not a joke but a fight that must be won.
He stated that given the increase in the number of confirmed cases in the last week, the PTF remains conscious of the fact that they were far from the end of this outbreak in the country.
“We must focus even more vigorously on our strategy of increasing testing, isolating confirmed cases, following up with contacts of cases and managing confirmed cases to recovery,” he stated.
Also speaking, Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health emphasised that every private hospital that would like to treat COVID19 patients, must have an Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), discipline that aimed at preventing or controlling spread of the virus in healthcare facilities and community.
“IPC is a universal discipline with relevance to all aspects of healthcare. It is part of every healthcare workers’ duty of care to ensure that no harm is done to patients, visitors or staff.
“All healthcare workers require at least a basic understanding of IPC principles and practice,” he said.
Ehanire stated that Private Hospitals that have the capacity to manage the pandemic outbreak in the country should seek certification from the Federal Ministry of Health, for standardisation and safety of frontline workers and other patients.
The minister noted that all emergency isolation and treatment centres established by the PTF have also undergone the same process in view of the danger posed by this infectious disease.
Meanwhile, he disclosed that over 90 per cent of people who contract COVID-19 would recover, as there were three levels of isolation and treatment centres.
“Isolation I;people who may have COVID-19 and mandatory quarantine for persons returning from abroad. Isolation II; people who have COVID-19, mild or moderate symptoms. Isolation III; people who have COVID-19, severe or critical symptoms,” he said.
The minister said that University of Abuja Teaching Hospital and the National Hospital, Abuja, were the designated Isolation facilities in Abuja.
He called on Nigerians to report to accredited centres for best chances of survival and recovery, adding that they should trust scientifically proven advisories and ignore fake news.
“Together, we shall get control of COVID19,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that as at 11:50 pm April 19, there are 627 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Nigeria.
“The breakdown of cases by state is: Lagos- 376, FCT- 88, Kano- 36, Osun- 20, Oyo- 16, Edo- 15, Ogun- 12, Kwara- 9, Katsina- 12, Bauchi- 7, Kaduna- 6, Akwa Ibom- 9, Delta- 4, Ekiti- 3, Ondo- 3,Enugu, Rivers, Niger and Jigawa has two each and one each from Brono, Benue and Anambra.