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Covid-19: PTF directs security agencies to ensure strict compliance to advisories

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Expresses Concern Over High Number Of Cases In Single Day
• As Treatment Centres In States Run Out Of Bed Spaces

Following the gross violation of guidelines and the advisories issued by the Federal Government on the gradual reopening of the economy, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has directed security agencies to adopt strict enforcement to ensure that people comply with the rules. 
 
Also, security agencies have been urged to respect the fundamental rights of citizens during enforcement, while all exempted persons, including journalists and medical personnel, must always carry a verifiable and authentic means of identification. 

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Meanwhile, the PTF said it has received reports from the states suggesting that the treatment centres were running out of bed spaces.

Chairman of the task force and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja, said the PTF has intensified monitoring of the level of compliance with the advisories and guidelines already issued and the outcome of the surveillance still points to the fact that violations were still rampant and portends a very dangerous trend.
 
He said: “The PTF has been consulting with the security agencies and arrived at the conclusion that strict enforcement should be adopted. As part of the conclusions of the meeting with security chiefs, we agreed to strengthen enforcement in collaboration with the states.   
 
“Security agencies should improve monitoring of their personnel and interaction with the citizenry. Appropriate Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) and related protective gears will be provided for the security personnel. Enlightenment and awareness should be intensified.”

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The SGF appealed to Nigerians to respect the sacrificial role of security agencies and desist from assaulting security personnel or damaging security infrastructure, adding that the measures taken are not punitive, but to save our lives and prevent the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 among our loved ones and within our communities. 

Mustapha, who noted that Nigeria is presently at the community transmission phase, lamented that the country on Thursday witnessed the highest single-day number of 381 confirmed cases, adding: “This could be considered worrisome, but for the fact that this rise is associated with our increased testing capacity, which has provided an opportunity to detect hitherto hidden cases. 
 
“However, this increased testing does not translate to higher fatality rates, as in the last few days, we have witnessed a good number of discharges and a continually reducing daily fatality rate.”
 
He observed that as the PTF assesses the situation, it would begin to examine the country’s peculiar circumstances, modify the strategies for care management and consider viable alternatives, where necessary, and at appropriate time, the guidelines and protocols shall be unfolded.

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The SGF noted that PTF was liaising with the Task Force on Movement of Agricultural Produce, under the leadership of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, to ensure that food scarcity is not experienced in any part of the country and to also minimise the abuse of the exemption granted for movement of goods under guidelines.

In his speech, Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, observed that as the pandemic increases and progresses to community transmission level in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) and other organs of government are continuously seeking measures to check or break transmission and so control the spread, with tried, tested and innovative measures and guidelines. 
 
He explained that the ministry has deployed a multi-sectoral technical team on a fact-finding mission to Jigawa State at the request of the governor, adding that the challenges in the state revolve around repatriated Almajiris, many of who have tested positive for COVID-19. 
 
Ehanire stated that the team includes doctors and nurses, who would support the state Ministry of Health in setting up and accrediting their isolation and treatment centres, adding that the Federal Ministry of Health was continuously monitoring and reviewing the situations and responding with the dispatch of teams of experts to provide technical support to high burden areas or states grappling with epidemic control issues.

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He said: “The FMoH holds daily situational analysis via teleconference with directors of the Ministry of Health, medical directors of federal hospitals and members of the Ministerial Expert Advisory Committee and other relevant stakeholders, such as NPHCDA, NCDC, NAFDAC in attendance. This enables real-time reporting on incidents in the field and immediate solution or mitigating steps.

“The Ministerial Response Action Plan of the Ministry is ready next week. The Ministerial Technical Team deployed to Kano State by FMoH to support the state in handling the ravaging community spread and providing direction in managing the COVID-19 situation has gained very significant community acceptance and is now generating a pool of trained and updated health workers, including over 100 ambulance drivers and patient handlers.”

“A ministerial technical team, comprising various specialists, was set up and deployed to Katsina State to assess the situation and provide, and also report on needed support. They will be rebuilding public confidence in the health system and creating awareness about the reality of COVID-19, as well as encouraging health workers, who will be trained and retrained to show more commitment.
 
“They will also ensure health workers are well protected by providing working materials and PPEs.”
 
The minister said calm has been restored in Gombe State isolation centres, while the ministry’s team sent to Kogi State has returned to Abuja without mission accomplishment, saying new efforts would be made to engage Kogi authorities for resolution of differences.  
 
He disclosed that a team would visit Borno State for the same purpose in due course, while state Commissioners of Health would be engaged on a continuous basis to monitor readiness, preparedness and address matters arising.

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