Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Afraid of a possible second wave of COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the Federal Government has warned Nigerians to avoid necessary travels especially to high burden areas.
It also said the death of former President, Jerry Rawlings, from complications of the virus is a confirmation that it respects no one.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and chairman of Presidential Task Force (PTF), Boss Mustapha, said this at Thursday’s media briefing, while noting number of cases has been fluctuating lately, he however noted that Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia reported the highest cases in the last 24 hours. He said while South Africa now accounts for 38% of total cases on the continent, up from 50% as at September., Nigeria now ranks 6th down in Africa but it’s not the time to let guards down for a second wave.
Mustapha said: “The PTF is still monitoring situations around the World and will continue to raise the flag so that Nigerians pay adequate attention to the rising number of cases especially in high burden countries. It will particularly help in planning to or not to, embark on trips. The candid advise of the PTF still remains that non-essential trips should be totally avoided.
“Global cases crossed the 52 million mark with USA, India and Brazil accounting for 48% of all global cumulative burden. The USA has been recording over 100,000 cases daily in recent times and the rate of fatalities is increasing in the UK and other European Countries. 5 Countries (USA, Brazil, India, Mexico and UK) account for 53% (685,176) of global deaths.
“On the African Continent, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia reported the highest cases in the last 24 hours. South Africa now accounts for 38% of total cases on the continent, up from 50% as at September. Nigeria now ranks 6th down in Africa and we don’t have to let our guards down for a second wave. The number of cases has been fluctuating lately and that is an indication that we are not out of the woods yet. The cases in Lagos where multiple infections were recorded in two schools are typical examples of the danger of reopening institutions without the required measures.
“The PTF urges Nigerians to take responsibility to keep our nation safe by adhering to all COVID-19 preventive measures. It is our collective responsibility. We must all rally round each other to stop this pandemic from destroying our lives and economy. The PTF believes strongly that now is the time to raise the tempo of not just our national response but also our preparedness for a new wave of the pandemic or any other epidemic for that matter. For example, it has been strongly observed that places of worship, gatherings and other events have dumped the use of face masks and adherence to other NPIs (non-pharmaceutical interventions).
The SGF said the PTF is still very much concerned about the mental health of survivors of the COVID 19 virus. “In this regard the PTF is following reports from researches around the world regarding the state of psychiatric health of survivors and has intensified plans for in-country response under the treatment and post-treatment regimes.
“Let me use this opportunity to urge all Nigerians to come out for regular testing. Our testing rate is very unencouraging. Mauritius has the highest tests per million (218,535) while Nigeria stands at 3,605 per million. This is grossly too low to be at a comfortable stage of defeating the pandemic considering the size of our population.
“This afternoon, we received the report of demise of the former President of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings. We commiserate with the President, Government and people of our sister country and pray for the repose of his soul. Similarly, on the 10th of November, 2020, COVID took another high-profile victim in the person of Saeb Erakat, PLO Chief Negotiator. We also commiserate with the Palestinian authority on this great loss. This will no doubt have a tremendous impact on the peace process in the Middle-East.”