Nigerians must take responsibility in COVID-19 fight, says FG

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*Urges health workers to reduce avoidable fatalities

*Condemns attack on Kogi FMC by hoodlums

*Calls on security agencies to fish out perpetrators

The presidential task force (PTF) on the novel coronavirus pandemic otherwise referred to as ‘Covid-19’ has called on Nigerians to take responsibility in the fight against the disease.

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Speaking during the daily briefing of the body in Abuja on Thursday, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and PTF chairman Mr. Boss Mustapha, warned that Nigeria was yet to win the fight against the outbreak.

Mustapha who observed that the new rise in cases was to be expected as nations start to ease restrictions added that the PTF would not hesitate to change course when the need arises.

He remarked: ‘’We join the whole world in emphasizing that the best way to manage this pandemic is the comprehensive approach.

While we ask you to play your part by observing physical distancing, keeping personal hygiene, wearing facemask, avoiding large gathering and staying at home, if you should.

‘’The PTF and collaborating agencies shall continue to work on finding, isolating, testing, tracing every contact, communicating and treating.

For our health workers, we shall equip and train them while our communities will be empowered to protect themselves. It is a combined approach that will work for us all.

‘’One significant observation the PTF wishes to make is that new rise in cases are to be expected as nations start to ease restrictions.

We shall however proceed with caution and we shall not hesitate to change course when the need arises. What this means is that Nigerians should never mistake the relaxation by government as a signal that the COVID-19 battle had been concluded.”

He stressed the need for the people to play their parts by observing physical distancing, keeping personal hygiene, wearing face masks, avoiding large gatherings, and staying at home when not necessary to go out.

According to the SGF, the PTF and collaborating agencies will continue to work on finding, isolating, testing, tracing contacts, communicating, and treating for COIVD-19.

He gave an assurance that the health workers would be equipped and trained while communities would be empowered to protect themselves.

He further appealed to all health workers and authorities of healthcare facilities to help reduce avoidable fatalities occurring from the non- COVID-19 related conditions, by attending to all patients while still observing the COVID-19 protocols.

“The PTF has received with great concern, reports about the attack on the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, Kogi State by some hoodlums. “The PTF is particularly distressed and regrets the trauma to which medical workers, patients, and others who went on their legitimate businesses were subjected.

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“I wish to assure you that security agencies have been tasked with the responsibility for fishing out the criminal elements behind it and they will be brought to justice.

“We thank law-abiding Nigerians for reporting the occurrence promptly.”

The PTF chairman said that the nation was in the early days of the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown and urged Nigerians to always remind themselves of the reason for these uncommon times facing humanity.

“This is the time to comply with the guidelines; it is the time to be vigilant and to take responsibility.

“It is for this reason that I shall repeat my admonition of Monday, June 29th, 2020, that there is presently no known vaccine for the virus and that all over the world non-pharmaceutical measures remain the most effective fighting opportunity we have for overcoming this pandemic,’’ he added.

Earlier, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, while giving an update on the COVID Organics touted by Madagascar as cure for the coronavirus disease said that initial findings on the solution showed that the primary plant used in its production is grown in Nigeria.

According to him, further research on its efficacy would be conducted when research fund for the solution is approved.

He warned Nigerians not to embark on unnecessary interstate trips as the virus was still much active in the country.

“Preliminary results or analysis of the so-called Madagascar herbs or organics done by the Nigerian Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development shows that it is the same plant called artemisia annua which is grown in farms in Abuja.

‘’The covid-19 statistics are expected to rise further with improved testing, but also as a sign that COVID-19 is actually expanding faster than our systems are handing it.

‘’The Federal Ministry of Health’s plan will be to focus more on minimizing fatalities by prioritizing preemptive admission to hospital for medical observation, all persons who test positive for COVID-19 and meet our definition of vulnerability, even if they do not yet have classical symptoms.

‘’These include the elderly, diabetics, asthmatics and persons in treatment for chronic infections and conditions. This population group will also be targeted for risk communication and engagement to avoid nonessential travel and exposure to risk factors outside the home.

‘’All countries, including Nigeria, rely heavily on the cooperation and collaboration with citizens, especially in implementing simple non pharmaceutical measures, like wearing face masks when outside the house, avoiding crowds and gatherings of more than 20 people and simple hygiene measures, which have been proven to reduce risks of transmission’’, the minister added.

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