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Nigeria can’t afford another wave of COVID-19, PTF warns

By Chukwuma Muanya (Lagos), Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze and Msugh Ityokura (Abuja)
22 September 2020   |   4:15 am
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has said that Nigeria cannot afford a second wave of COVID-19.

• NCDC, NIMR begin household survey in four states
• FG urges JOHESU to end strike

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has said that Nigeria cannot afford a second wave of COVID-19.

It appealed to Nigerians to persuade their relations arriving the country to self-isolate upon arrival as required and test on the seventh day as prescribed.

Chairman of PTF/Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, who stated this yesterday in Abuja, noted that despite appreciable progress recorded, Nigerians should be more vigilant than ever.

The SGF observed that over the last one week, the scientific community had tried to explain new manifestation of COVID-19 spread.

His words: “We continue to observe a reversal of gains in the battle, mostly in countries around Europe, which prompted the World Health Organisation (WHO) to express concern, as weekly cases have exceeded those reported in March 2020 when the pandemic peaked in Europe.”

Mustapha cited Israel, which has re-introduced a three-week lockdown, and the United Kingdom considering another lockdown, Spain enforcing a partial lockdown in Madrid, and France amid protests by its citizens.

TO better understand the burden of COVID-19 infection in the country, the Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, has announced that NCDC, Nigeria Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and their partners were conducting household survey in four states.

He noted that the seroprevalence surveys in Gombe, Enugu, Nasarawa and Lagos states would provide the best evidence yet on the extent of COVID-19 infection in Nigeria.

The survey runs from September to November, while preliminary results are expected by December 2020.
MEANWHILE, the Federal Government has asked the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) to permanently call off its strike.

The call, according to government, will help sustain efforts to strengthen the nation’s health systems in the fight against COVID-19.

Mustapha, who spoke at the weekly briefing in Abuja yesterday, called on all sub-national governments to support the nation’s health professionals in carrying out their duties.

According to the SGF, the call for greater vigilance is underscored by the fact that the nation’s economy has been seriously affected by the pandemic “and we are pushing through our home-grown economic recovery strategies to cushion the economic impact of the pandemic.”