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COVID-19: Nigeria may record 100 new imported cases daily – PTF raises alarm

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THE Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, yesterday called for vigilance over the possibility of escalating positive cases of COVID-19 as the international airports prepare for full reopening.

Speaking in Abuja during the PTF briefing, Aliyu said that with projection of about 7,000 passengers coming into the country daily, there is probability of about 1.5 percent of this population testing positive to COVID-19.

He explained that when the airports were first opened, out of the first 2,403 passengers that arrived in Lagos, 80 tested positive, while 25 out of the first 2,700 tested at Abuja were also positive.

“What that means is that about 105 tested positive out of about 5,000 passengers. By the time we open fully, we will be having about 5,000 to 7,000 passengers coming into Nigeria on daily basis. That translates to about 100 potential positive cases daily. So we need to do something so as not to draw our response backwards.”

Aliyu reemphasised the need for every state to test at least one percent of its population.

“Only the FCT has achieved that target, while Lagos state is about 97 percent but other states are below 20 percent which means that we are not testing enough.

“We are concerned about the level of compliance with wearing of face mask in offices and we are not happy about it, we will reach out to Heads of MDAs to ensure compliance. If the whole civil service is going to come back to work, we expect total compliance with wearing of face masks in government offices, commercial places as well as public places.”

Corroborating his views, Chairman of the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr. Boss Mustapha, said that it will be misleading and dangerous to assume that Nigeria is out of the wood due to decrease in daily cases.

Mustapha who called for more vigilant said that some countries that were thought to have flatting the curve and halt the spread are now dealing with issue of resurgence which informed re-introduction of restrictions.

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“Nigeria maintains the fifth position in Africa with 60,266 cases of COVID-19 after South Africa, Morocco, Egypt and Ethiopia. As part of our continuous effort, this week, PTF will unveil to Nigeria the next phase of easy of lockdown as findings and recommendations have been complied and will be Presented to the Mr. President.

“With the experience of other nations, we cannot announce that we are out of the wood yet. We  must continue to take responsibility, remain vigilant and extremely careful looking at the re-emergency of COVID-19 in some countries that we thought have flatting the curve and halt the spread but now have to deal with issues of specific and selective restriction.”

He explained that the federal government will continue to provide guideline to ensure that the country remain safe.

“The debate about reopening of school has dominated conversation among Nigerian citizen and parent in particular. We wish to state that the federating unity have the responsibility of determining the date of reopening why federal government continue to provide guideline.

He added that they have made appreciable progress in conversation with European Union over flight restriction, visa among other into its territory.

On his part, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora,  said that the rate of infection among health workers has reduced and more cases are being successfully treated and discharged.

“This is a new virus and there is a lot to learn. Our response is built on trace, test, isolation and treat. In this regard, training is ongoing across the country on infection prevention and control, contact tracing and management.

“The rate of infection among health workers have reduce and more cases are been successfully treated and discharge. COVID-19 pandemic have shown the value of well coordinated stakeholders approach. The pandemic is not over yet, we all have duty to protect ourselves and others, wear face mask, physical distance and respiratory hygiene.”

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