Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic on Monday warned that allowing a second wave of the pandemic in the country would destroy the economy and lead to too many deaths.
National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, who gave the warning also advised that opening up of the economy and other activities in the country should be done safely because the country cannot afford another lockdown.
Aliyu, specifically urged businesses that are reopening to ensure to adopt the PTF advised precautionary measures, noting that many countries in other parts of the world had already imposed a second lockdown following a resurgence of the spread of the disease, a situation he noted that Nigeria would not be able to afford.
“Specifically, we urge businesses that are reopening to align themselves to our efforts by establishing and practicing COVID-19 sensitive business precautionary measures.
“We eventually have to reopen, but we can only do so if we reopen safely. It is quite clear, as we can see from the other parts of the world, that certain countries are now going back into lockdown state because of the pandemic coming back again, otherwise called recrudescence or what we call a second wave.
“We really cannot afford to have this happening in this country. It will destroy our economy and it will lead to a lot of deaths. Therefore, we have to reopen safely, we cannot risk another shutdown nor can we risk more lives being lost”, he warned.
The Coordinator said to help Nigeria safe and gradual reopening, the PTF would be providing data-driven and scientific advisories.
He, however noted that data analysis had shown that a large population of Nigerians are living in denial of the virulent nature of COVID-19, warning that it would be dangerous to be fooled into complacency.
“With the reopening of the economy, the PTF will continue to provide data-driven and scientific advisories that can protect us from this pandemic. So far, our data analysis shows that most Nigerians continue to be in denial of the dangerous nature of this virus.
“As our airspace and various sectors are opening up, it’s really very easy to forget and be fooled into complacency, but we really shouldn’t.
“We are urging everybody to always follow the approved non-pharmaceutical advisories, such as the use of the facemasks all the time and properly, health and respiratory hygiene as well as physically distancing, in order to protect ourselves and our most vulnerable parts of the population.
“We can only win the fight against Coronavirus when our knowledge of prevention translates to our daily behaviours at home, at our workplaces, our religious centres and in fact anywhere, we definitely must embrace this new reality, especially as the world continues to look for a permanent solution to the pandemic.
“PTF will like to appeal to the state governments and religious bodies to proactively prevent transmission of the virus by continuing to advocate and practice the approved preventive measures and guidelines”, he said.