Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government has expressed worry over the rising cases of the virus in Kano State.
Out of the 782 confirmed cases of COVID19, Kano has 73 cases and out of the 117 new cases of reported Kano has 14 and is third on the table after Lagos with 59, FCT with 29.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, said this at the daily briefing on Thursday.
According to him, “The situation in Kano continues to be of concern, and the PTF is working in close contact with the State Government to arrest the situation. The PTF will update you as soon as there are new developments.
“The PTF notes that the number of cases has risen generally. This is attributable to expansion of our testing capacity and activities as well as evidence that community spread is taking place,” he said.
According to him, considering the dynamic nature of the response plan, the strategy for testing has been modified and door-to-door testing is now taking place in some communities in Lagos and Abuja and they testing, detection, isolation, care and case management remain central to the success in the anti-COVID-19 efforts.
The SGF also commended the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, for his actions to prevent the spread of the virus especially during this year’s Ramadan.
This year’s Ramadan may begin on Friday or Saturday.
Mustapha said, “It is anticipated that by Friday 24th, the Ramadan shall commence.
I want to use this medium to thank His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs for endorsing the recommendations of the Emergency Fatwah Committee by issuing a statement guiding the conduct of the Ummah during the Ramadan.
“The statement has directed the Ummah on the suspension of obligatory religious activities such as Jumaat, congregational and other sessions during the month of Ramadan to prevent the spread of COVID 19. It similarly encouraged scholars and organisations to use all other means of communication and broadcast to disseminate information and conduct programmes. Our Prayer is that the Almighty shall accept our collective supplication and show mercy.”
He therefore recommended the application of these directives in the states and implore all state governors to consider these directives before taking further ddecisions.
He again reiterated that the pandemic is real and deadly; and urged all Nigerians to rise togey to fight this potent and invisible common enemy by adhering to the guidelines and protocols for COVID-19, including personal hygiene, social distancing, wear of masks in public places, obeying the stay-at-home order and reporting unusual illness to the authorities for investigation.
Meanwhile, the National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu, has described as fake a statement, linking him with a proposed complete lockdown of the country.
He said: “My attention has been drawn to a fake task force media statement, which was said to be signed by me, talking about a proposed complete lockdown of the country.
“Not only did the statement patently failed, it was badly written. It is unfortunate that a small number of persons continued to engage mischief making at such a serious time when we are talking about Coronavirus infection.
“I must reiterate that the task force has not released any official statement on a complete lockdown, I refer to the SGF’s speech yesterday, on submitting formal findings to Mr President, this is yet to happen.
“I request that the public and the media take caution in circulating or publishing unverified news. To be very clear, all formal statements on th emergency response are made through this daily press briefing or through official press statements.
“I’m asking for all parts of the media to continue to work with us to prevent the spread of divisive and harmful fake news.
“I’ll also like to applaud all those patients of COVID-19 and are now sharing the experiences on their own volition. This step is extremely harmful, encountering the wrong signal around COVID-19 infection. When we stigmatise persons, when we discriminate against them, when we scold people, what happens is that they go into hiding at a time when they need help and support and it makes our job more difficult.
“We can only flatten the curve if people come out willingly to report symptoms based on case specification; like fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. We need to encourage more people to come out with symptoms so that we can test them and isolate them appropriately.”