Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Federal Government has appealed to governors to increase the number of isolation centres as the cases of COVID-19 swelled to 2,950 on Wednesday.
Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, made the appeal at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, reiterating that the country was largely dealing with community transmission of the coronavirus.
“The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria has continued to rise not unexpectedly, in view of prevailing circumstances in certain states. As at 11pm on May 5, 148 persons had tested positive, bringing the total to 2,950 confirmed to have COVID-19 in 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
“We are encouraging and supporting states to increase the number of isolation centres nationwide, and we are extremely grateful to corporate organisations and philanthropists who have donated isolation facilities, diagnostic equipment, commodities and sundry supplies relevant to our response efforts to COVID-19 threat.
“We are clearly in community transmission phase, where much now depends on individual and collective behaviour and the urgency of behaviour change communication becomes apparent. Knowledge so far gathered about COVID-19 needs to be converted into practice, because our safety, now more than ever, depends on all of us.”
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, has insisted that journalists are rendering essential service in the fight against flattening the curve of coronavirus.
Commissioner of Police in Lagos, Hakeem Odumosu, had on Monday instructed Area Commanders and DPOs to stop journalists.
In the Federal Capital Territory, journalists were prevented from going to their places of work by security operatives, forcing them to return home.
But Mustapha said: “Journalists are part of the essential service, because, whatever we do here, if you don’t report it, then the news item will not get out to the population. The adverts we carry on the radio, television is supposed to enhanced and equip our people with knowledge and information, so that they can take informed decision not to go out there. Anything related to press is considered as an essential service for the purposes of allowing you free passage.
“We will look at the issue that happened in Lagos and the Minister of Information will take up that because, if we expects the networks to remain open for 24 hours or throughout the night, then when it comes to movement, our security agencies should be adoptive enough to know that this people are coming from their places of work and grant them access.”