Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has said 85 local government areas in 20 states were without any testing reported case.
He said five states still accounted for 60 per cent of cumulative cases while 689 LGAs have reported a case and 50 per cent of all cases were in 20 per cent LGAs.
Chairman of PTF on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, made this disclosure at the daily briefing, yesterday.
With 46,577 confirmed cases and 945 fatalities, he reiterated the warning that Nigeria was yet to reach the peak of the pandemic.
“Therefore, the low test/case confirmation numbers coming out daily should not be misinterpreted to mean that we have overcome. We have over time ramped up testing but more needs to be done to raise the quantum of test per million”, he said.
The SGF said the key sectors that the PTF will be watching in addition to general level of compliance are the education and transportation sectors.
Mustapha said: “Schools are gradually reopening with the commencement of preparations for critical examinations. “Guidelines have already been issued by the Federal Ministry of Education to all stakeholders.
“For the transportation sector, the PTF continues to follow the developments in railway and air transportation respectively. Nigerians and sector stakeholders are admonished to ensure compliance with the various non-pharmaceutical measures already in place. The PTF and the Federal Ministry of Aviation are working rapidly towards reopening of the international flights.
“The PTF will also be looking closely at the issue of Risk Communication and Community Engagement. Messaging and consultations shall be intensified to drive the level of awareness and compliance to the wider population using mediums and platforms that are most effective generally and specifically.”
Masks, others only options to halt spread
Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has said the only measures Nigerians have to protect themselves remained the appropriate use of face masks, physical distancing and avoiding crowds.
He said figures showed that Nigeria was sadly approaching the symbolic 1,000 number of fatalities, adding “a grim reality that should be a wake up call for us.
“Many more Nigerians today personally knew a person who succumbed to COVID-19, and so I ask that we remind ourselves today that COVID-19 is still with us and will be for a long time.
“Until there is vaccine, the only options we have to protect ourselves are still the non-pharmaceutical measures that are proven to be cheap and effective, such as the appropriate use of face masks, physical distancing and avoiding crowds. If we do not adhere, there could be regrets. The urgency is accentuated by the need to prepare for societal changes that will arise as the economy reopens with increased transportation, trade and human interaction, including possible reopening of air travel. We must make an effort to balance the benefits of a reactivated economy with the need to keep citizens safe, with no loss in gains so far made.”
Ehanire said the National Council on Health has approved the establishment of the National Emergency Medical Service and Ambulance System (NEMSAS), an innovative system to pool the assets of public and private sector ambulances and hospitals, to raise funds to augment government seed money, and to work with States to provide emergency medical care and patient transportation to all citizens whenever and wherever it is required and irrespective of immediate or potential ability to pay.
“It will be possible to considerably reduce COVID-19 mortality, including also maternal, child mortality, and post crash mortality with a functional Emergency Medical Service and Ambulance System that can rely on the combined assets of private and public sectors,” he said.