Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 pandemic has declared that Nigeria is no longer in the top five countries by cumulative deaths in Africa.
It has however, urged Nigerians to change their attitude of scepticism and nonchalance to COVID-19 insisting that the virus is still ferocious and deadly.
It further urged Nigerians not to be deceived by the fact that the country’s recovery rate is high and very encouraging.
The Chairman PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, stated this at Thursday’s media briefing in Abuja.
According to Mustapha, “Although Nigeria is no longer in the top five countries by cumulative deaths in Africa, the PTF continues to urge Nigerians to change their attitude of scepticism and nonchalance to the virus. For the avoidance of doubts, the virus is real, ferocious and deadly. To date, Nigeria has recorded 59,738 confirmed cases and 1,113 fatalities.
“The PTF is fully conscious, but not deceived, by the fact that our recovery rate is high and very encouraging. We still urge, however, that everyone should get tested because testing is the only way to detect, isolate, trace and treat. Media reports have suggested that many Nigerians do not trust the government and its agencies. We need to continue to build mutual trust between government and the governed if successes already recorded are to be sustained in the fight against COVID-19.”
He said the PTF and relevant agencies are working with the European Union on the issue of flights into Nigeria.
Mustapha said: “As soon as negotiations are completed, Nigerians will be informed accordingly. For flights currently allowed into Nigeria, we are seeing a combined number of 4,500 arriving passengers per day into Lagos and Abuja.”
The PTF chair expressed sadness on behalf of the team on the death of a laboratory expert with the NCDC, Mr. Uche Njoku, shot and killed while on official trip by unknown gunmen.
He said: “The PTF commiserate with his family and all frontline workers on this painful loss. We also wish the other workers in the vehicle that were injured a quick recovery. This incident underscores the danger that frontline workers face in the course of fighting this virus on our behalf. We urge all Nigerians to continue to pray for the safety of all frontline workers and their families.”
Mustapha reminded all Nigerians that “like our diamond anniversary celebration, the COVID-19 has made year 2020 a most significant year for us in Nigeria. We need to do all we can to survive it and we have the solutions in our hands. Together, let us take responsibility.”