From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has warned of a possible third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic as is being experienced in some countries.
PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha gave the warning at a joint national briefing on Monday.
According to Mustapha, Nigerians should be wary of home-based care as there may not be enough facilities and personnel to manage patients in times of emergencies.
‘As of March 14, 2021, our bed occupancy has reduced to 1.22 per cent and active cases stands 13,245. Unfortunately, Nigeria crossed 2,000 fatalities on March 12, 2021, and now we have 2,013 recorded deaths,’ Mustapha stated.
‘The PTF will like to caution Nigerians on home-based care as there may not be enough facilities and personnel to manage patients in times of emergencies.
‘It is in this vein that concerted efforts have been made to ensure that oxygen is available for patients in all the 46 facilities,’ he said.
The SGF acknowledged the reports from all over the world in the last few days focusing on the safety and side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine that was currently being rolled out in the country.
He, however, said that Nigerian authorities have tested and authorised the use of the vaccines because it was safe and efficacious.
‘I, however, wish to reassure you that the Government of Nigeria shall always prioritise the health of Nigerians,’ he said.
The SGF said that the discussions with the KLM and Emirates were still on-going on the issue of pre-boarding testing for passengers whose final destination of travel were in their home bases.
According to him, KLM will resume outbound flights from Lagos from today, 15 March 2021 without RDTs while a letter has been written to Emirates Airlines to suspend flights with effect from midnight Wednesday, March 17, 2021.
He added discussions were on-going to resolve the matter amicably.
He also recalled that at the beginning of the ban on international and domestic travels, airports in Nigeria were locked down.
Mustapha said that the major concern for the ban on international flights was to prevent the importation of the virus.
‘The ban has since been lifted after necessary infrastructure and personnel and systems were put in place in Lagos and Abuja airports. In order to further energise the economies of states in the North-West, South-South and South-East, a timetable has been prepared for the reopening of Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu international airports,’ he said.
Speaking on the third wave despite vaccines, Mustapha said that the arrival of vaccines had not in any way distracted government from pursuing the National Response to COVID-19 as originally conceptualised, test, detect, trace, isolate and treat.
‘For the avoidance of doubt, the virus is very potent and people still get infected. It is also a fact that the vaccination process has only just begun. It has been reported that some countries are recording a third wave of cases.
‘We urge all Nigerians to recognise that we are not yet out of the woods. Therefore, the PTF shall continue to emphasis and promote strict adherence to Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions.