From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC) has disclosed that with Nigeria recording about 500 cases daily in the last seven days, the country’s test positivity ratio has increased to about six per cent.
It further reiterated that the Delta variant is in the country with the PSC particularly expressing concern about the situation in Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Oyo, Rivers, Ekiti and Kwara States, adding that the variant in these states account for the rising cases in these states and across the nation with Lagos alone accounting for over 50 per cent of the number of cases.
Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee (PSC), on COVID-19, said this on Monday at the national media briefing.
According to him, the situation is worrisome and shows that the country is not out of the woods yet.
‘The world has added about 4 million cases and under 100,000 deaths in the last one week. All countries in the West African region are beginning to see the 3rd Wave while Nigeria is recording about 500 cases daily in the last 7 days. Our Test Positivity Ratio has increased to about 6%. This is worrisome and shows that we are not out of the woods yet,’ he said.
‘It is no more news that the Delta variant has made its way into Nigeria. The PSC is particularly concerned about the situation in Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Oyo, Rivers, Kano, Plateau States and the FCT as this variant has made way into these states and accounts for the rising cases in these states and across the nation. Lagos alone accounts for over 50% of the number of cases. The DG NCDC will elaborate on this development.
‘This development calls for great caution because the virus is very virulent and raging in so many other countries. We must therefore keep observing the NPIs and also ensure that we get vaccinated. Vaccination prevents severe cases and reduces hospitalisation and deaths but does not eliminate contacting it, hence the need to religiously observe the NPIs.
‘We need to test more and detect early enough so that people who have contracted this virus can be treated early.’
The SGF announced that the country currently has 143 molecular laboratories (54 private and 89 public) where testing can take place, urging Nigerians to make themselves available for testing, urging them to test regularly.
He also said the PSC is ready to publish over 500 travellers who violated the travel protocol and those who evaded quarantine this week. Similarly, Mustapha said those who had their passports barred for six months will be lifted in the coming days.
‘The CG Immigration will be directed to lift the suspension and to also activate the new sanctions. Travellers who did not go for their Day-7 test will have restrictions placed on their international passports for six months while those who evaded quarantine will similarly have restrictions on their international passports for one year,’ he said.
The PSC boss also announced that the National International Travel Portal is being reviewed to better enhance a hitch-free experience for travellers. This review will be completed in the next two weeks. Mustapha said the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu is ready for reopening saying: ‘A date will be announced in due course after few logistics issues are cleared.’
He said that the PSC has also reviewed the travel protocols for diplomatic travellers.
He thanked the government of the United States for donating over 4 million doses of Moderna Vaccines, saying the vaccines will go a long way in vaccinating more Nigerians as only two per cent of the nation’s population have been vaccinated.
‘We thank the Government and people of the USA for this gift and we promise that it will be utilised judiciously. Also, important to note is that every state of this country now has at least one U701 Ultra Cold Chain equipment to store ultra-cold vaccines,’ the SGF said.