Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari will again address the nation today following the end of the first phase of the gradual easing of the lockdown.
The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force in COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu made this disclosure when he appeared on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
According to him, the President is to decide on whether or not the country should go ahead with the second phase of the easing of the lockdown.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Presidential Task Force in COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, has warned those flouting the guidelines of the relaxed lockdown, that the virus is going no where at least for the next two months.
This is even as he said the next phase of the taskforce responsibility has moved to the community level for them to take ownership, reduce transmission if the country is to flatten the curve.
He spoke after he led members of the team to submit report to President Buhari at the State House, Abuja.
Mustapha who reiterated that COVID-19 is a marathon race and not 100 meters dash, added that no vaccine is in the horizon, saying that it will take about 18 months to two years before vaccines would be confirm for human use.
Mustapha was responding to a question on if the PTF was still worried about the response of Nigerians to the pandemic.
According to him, “That is one of the set backs that I can say. There was a poll that was conducted over the last two weeks covering all facets of segments and demography of people, 99 percent of Nigerians said they are aware of COVID-19, they have listened to publicity materials, jingles and the information that has been put out there by the ministry of information and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control. But different percentages that have different perspective, some 26 percent said that they are immune, with that kind of a mindset, when someone said he is immune, it means that he will not use the face mask, he will not observe social distancing, he will not stay at home when he is supposed to stay at home. And different percentages have ascribed different levels of understanding of what COVID-19 is. But the most important thing is for us to drive home community ownership, let the community understand that there is a COVID-19 that is deadly, that can ravage their health and their wealth and the most important thing for them to do is for them to take personal responsibility in dealing with it. And how do they take responsibility? All of them should be overseers of their communities, watch out for people who have symptoms and urged them to report at the nearest health facility and get tested and if they are confirmed positive, their contacts can be traced and they will be taken into care, that is the most important thing to do.
“COVID-19 is not going to go away in the next one or two months, whoever tells you that is not being realistic. No vaccine is in the horizon, we are talking about 18 months to two years before vaccines would be confirm for human use as far as COVID-19. And unless we get there, it means is that it will remain.
“It might have cycles, after the first cycle of pandemic, they might be a relief, there can be a resurgence and that is evidenced all over the world. It has happened before as is the nature of infections. So, I believe that what we are going to do now as a taskforce is to come down to the level of having the communities take ownership of the response.”