Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, yesterday, warned that notwithstanding the discovery of vaccines, mass production was still far of, hence the need for Nigerians to avoid unnecessary travels and continue to observe the non-pharmaceutical interventions.
Director General, National Center for Disease (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu, at the media briefing of the Taskforce, described Christmas carols and other festivities as super spreaders of the virus, hence should be avoided.
He said: “While we have had a lot of encouraging news about vaccines, we are still very far from mass production, we are even very far from having one with a licence. So, we have to tighten our belts and get through this month of December.
“So, I really want to encourage everyone to remain vigilant, discipline, stay safe and abide by the general protocols that we have advised throughout the year. This is the best way that we can keep our love ones safe and transition safely in 2021. This is particularly important for the elderly who we may want to go and visit as we do by this time of the year. There will be many more opportunities after this period and we have to live long enough to make use of those opportunities.”
Ihekweazu said a travel advisory has been issued, detailing why travels both locally and internationally must be avoided unless it is absolutely necessary.
According to him: “Since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Nigeria, just over 67,000 COVID-19 cases have been reported with just over 1,000 deaths. Most of the confirmed cases and deaths have been in urban/semi-urban cities and town and the risk of spread remains. The COVID-19 virus does not spread on its own, it spreads when people move around. This means that by traveling across countries and cities, there is a higher risk of transmission, especially to rural areas where the existing health infrastructure is already weak.
“Nigerians are therefore advised to be vigilant, this is not the time to let our guard time. It is therefore advisable to limit all non-essential domestic and international travel.
“This is especially important for intending travellers from countries recording a high number of COVID-19 cases.
“As an alternative to travel, the following should be considered:
“Limit festivities to members of your immediate household. While remaining physically distanced, remain socially connected with friends and loved ones using mobile or video conferencing technology.
“Hold virtual services and prayer sessions to limit mass congregation. Limit person-to-person contact and physical movement using electronic money transfers systems.
“Always wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth when in public settings, such as religious centres and market places. Maintain physical distance of at least two metres from others in public settings.”