From Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja
There is a noticeable decline in the spread of Coronavirus infections, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Control said on Thursday.
The Task Force, however, told Nigerians to continue to be vigilant to prevent a reversal of the gains and trigger a second wave of the pandemic.
PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha affirmed during his committee’s briefing in Abuja that the country had begun flattening the curve of the spread of the virus.
But he warned that the observed success should be taken with vigilance, reminding all that the resumption of international flights and other economic activities could endanger the success so far recorded.
Mustapha said: “Looking back at our national response, using science, data and experience from other countries, we cannot but say that tremendous progress has been made and that we are beginning to notice that the curve is flattening.
“However, as we have always stated, this positive development shall be taken with vigilance and cautious optimism. This is based on the fact that we are convinced that we have not tested enough, we have only recently reopened our international flights and that nations that had opened up their economies have done a re-think following the resurgence of the cases in their countries.”
Noting that the PTF, inaugurated on March 17, turned six months yesterday, Mustapha urged Nigerians to be reminded the world has hit 30,026,460 cases, Africa cumulatively reached 1,380,223 cases and Nigeria has also reached 56,604 cases.
He said: “Of particular note is the fact that India has crossed the five million cases mark and continues to report the highest daily case load over the past six weeks. These numbers are reminders that point to the need to gird our loins tightly in our national response and build stronger and more unified global collaborative efforts to overcome the virus.
“Again, we reiterate the underlying objectives of the UN General Assembly resolution calling for global collaboration as the most veritable vehicle to fight the virus.”
The SGF also said that the PTF is closely watching the developments at the airports and taking comments and observations sent by Nigerians and passengers.
According to him, most of the comments are around the protocols and requirements for departure, arrivals, testing in-country and self-isolation.
He added that while the “PTF regrets all inconveniences experienced by arriving passengers, the overriding public interest is a critical factor propelling the policies.”
The PTF chair assured that the issues with access to the portal, cost, pre-boarding validity timing and other factors remain work in progress and shall be reviewed as and when necessary, while the PTF shall remain open to suggestions and comments.
He restated his Monday’s appeal to all health workers under the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), noting that the nation cannot afford any further disruption to its healthcare systems.
Mustapha said: “Before I invite the Honourable Minister of Health, DG-NCDC and the National Coordinator, let me once again send a strong appeal to all health workers particularly, JOHESU members, that the nation can ill-afford any further disruption to its health systems.
“The on-going strike has been very costly in terms of human lives but such losses can be avoided. Government shall continue to do its best to push through the negotiations with the unions and hopefully, reason shall prevail.”
Admitting the celebration of Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary on October 1 for joyous celebration, the PTF reminded Nigerians of the importance to take responsibility.
He said: “We have together participated in this national response and also recognised that this year, 2020, has been trying for humanity. This celebration should therefore be both joyous and reflective for us all.
“We urge you to remain mindful of the fact that there is a new normal and that the COVID-19 is virulent and dangerous. We urge you to continue to take responsibility.”
Read the original article on The Nation