Increased Travels, Religious Activities, Others Triggered COVID-19 Cases

Boss Mustapha

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has highlighted the factors that led to the increased figures of coronavirus recorded in the country since November 2020.

Addressing reporters on Monday in Abuja, the PTF Chairman, Boss Mustapha, revealed that increased local and international travels were among the major factors.

He listed the others to include increased business and religious activities, reopening of schools without strict compliance with COIVID-19 safety measures.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), faulted the attitude of some state authorities to the management of the disease.

According to him, no state in Nigeria is immune to the pandemic even if reports are not coming out of such states.

The PTF chairman urged the people to stay away from activities that can expose them to the virus as the nation’s tally crossed 100,000.

He announced that the government has concluded plans to roll out the pilot exercise on the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test-Kits (RDTs) ​next week in five tertiary health institutions in Abuja.

Read the full text of the SGF at the briefing below:

REMARKS BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON COVID-19 FOR MONDAY, 11TH JANUARY 2021

​I welcome you all to the National Briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 for today, Monday, 11th January 2021.

​Reports coming in from all over the world show that the COVID-19 pandemic is still wreaking huge havoc on humanity, economies, and systems.

The Situation Report as of Sunday, 10th January point in the following direction:

On 8th January 2021: 833,496 cases were recorded. This represented the highest ever since the pandemic started

The three days preceding the 8th, each recorded over 700,000 cases

Global cases have now reached the 90,676,320 mark

Global fatality count is fast approaching the two million mark

The global CFR has declined from 2.2 to 2.1%

The CFR for Africa has also declined from 2.3 to 2.2%; and

The WHO African region crossed the two million case mark on Wednesday, 6th January 2020.

​In Nigeria, we have crossed the 100,000 cases mark and now rank second in the number of new cases, the 4th in cumulative cases in Africa, and 5th in cumulative deaths.

Last week, Nigeria recorded over 9,000 cases. Realistically, if we estimate the numbers missed, we would be in a much higher region.

There is no state in Nigeria that is immune to this pandemic even if reports are not coming out of such states. The Hon. Minister of State for Health and the DG NCDC will expand on the statistics during this briefing.

​It is, however, very instructive to stress that factors that have contributed to rise in numbers from late November 2020 included increased local and international travels, business and religious activities, reopening of schools without strict compliance with COIVID-19 safety measures.

​The full import of the fore-going is to press further on the need for us all to elevate the level of our vigilance and compliance with the recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions.

The current wave of infections is swift and virulent, and we do not know how long it will last. Besides, the facilities available for the treatment of critical cases remain very limited and we do not wish to be overwhelmed.

Your best bet, therefore, is to avoid infections completely. The PTF has continued to receive inquiries about the issue of testing before travelling out of Nigeria.

For the avoidance of doubts, the protocol in Nigeria requires inbound passengers to test, not more than 96 hours, before boarding flights to Nigeria.

However, for passengers leaving Nigeria, it remains the responsibility of travellers to confirm the requirements of the country of destination and that of the carrier of choice. The National Coordinator will clarify the extant protocol and the policy position.

For in-bound travellers, a new protocol on pre-boarding has been released and compliance is still strongly recommended. The additional requirements for passengers coming from the United Kingdom and South Africa also remain in force. The NC will also speak on this during the briefing.

​Next week the pilot exercise on the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test-Kits (RDTs) will be rolled out in 5 tertiary health institutions in Abuja. The DG NCDC will expand on this.

​The isolation of different strains of the virus is being vigorously pursued. In this regard, the PTF is working with the Africa CDC and the NCDC on the sequencing of the COVID strains circulating in Nigeria. We shall keep Nigerians informed as the exercise progresses.

​As part of measures to deepen community engagement and enforcement of protocols, the PTF met with the Nigerian Governors Forum last week and will be meeting with key religious and traditional leaders soon. It will similarly meet with security agencies.

​The third stream of NYSC members will resume on 18th January and the PTF is working closely with the management to ensure that participants are tested, and protocols are complied with.

​Finally, the PTF has advanced the preparation for the management of all aspects of the vaccines discuss.

Particularly, lessons are being drawn from other jurisdictions on the successes and challenges of the vaccine administration. The Executive Director of the NPHCDA will elaborate on this.

​I now invite the Honourable Minister of State for Health, the DG (NCDC), and the National Coordinator to brief you from the technical perspectives.

​I thank you all for listening.

Covid-19 PTF
SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, addressing reporters at the PTF briefing in Abuja.
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