…To sanction the second batch of 100 test defaulters
By Omeiza Ajayi, ABUJA
The Federal Government has warned against complacency with regards to adhering to safety protocols following hopes of accessing the COVID-19 vaccines soon, lamenting that the pandemic claimed 77 lives in the last one week.
This was as the country conducted 100, 000 tests last week, the highest so far since the pandemic reared its ugly head in the country.
It also added that it never actually agreed with states that schools should resume on January 18.
According to the government, having the vaccines will still not be enough as Nigerians must continue to abide by all non-pharmaceutical interventions in order to eliminate the virus.
Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce PTF on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha gave the charge during Monday’s briefing of the Taskforce.
He said; “I wish to note particularly, however, that in week two of 2021 the statistics revealed the following: “Cases: 10,300. Deaths: 77 and, Active Cases: 19,635.
“All these numbers represented increases compared with the numbers from week one, 2021”.
Generally, Nigeria has recorded 110, 387 cases since the pandemic began in the country. While there are currently 22, 156 Active Cases, about 89, 317 persons have been treated and discharged. Also, while total case fatality stands at 1, 435, about 1, 172, 234 tests have been conducted so far.
On the African Continent, the SGF said South Africa and Nigeria continue to report highest daily count, adding that South Africa, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Algeria and Kenya account for 76% of all cases in the region.
“Nigeria has moved up to the third position in highest cumulative caseload but remains 2nd for new cases and 5th highest in cumulative deaths on the WHO African region.
“The PTF has also authorized the NCDC to immediately implement the 450 tests per LGA plan, nationwide, immediately. We are aware that States are not on the same pedestal in the area of testing and we shall begin with States that are at the forefront of resourcing and infrastructure”, he added.
The PTF aligned with the statements issued by the Christian Association of Nigeria CAN guide the sick and the elderly on the need to avoid large gathering by staying at home, expressing optimism that other institutions would follow suit.
It added that the positive news about vaccines remains high in the ranking of discussions nationwide and that the PTF will ensure that the vaccines to be approved will be safe and effective.
“We must however work together as foot soldiers in the vaccine advocacy so that we can eliminate the pandemic. The PTF wishes to emphasise that the success of our national response shall not depend on vaccines alone. Rather, compliance with the non-pharmaceutical protocols must remain top on our individual priorities.
“Let me remind you that the pandemic is raging and all tiers of Government and citizens must keep their hands-on-deck. We are in a difficult situation in which a balance must continue to be struck between lives and livelihood. We are considering all options while hoping that broad cooperation will be received. We must do everything possible to avoid the second lockdown in Nigeria.
“Finally, the PTF is proceeding with the next phase of the approved Presidential sanction against all in-bound international travellers that failed to undergo the day-7 post-arrival test. The PTF will publish the next list of 100 defaulters very soon”, he stated.
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu also clarified that the Federal Government had reservations about the resumption of schools on January 18.
According to him, while the states wanted to go ahead with the school’s resumption, the Federal Government was against it but had to reach a compromise since it does not control all the schools
“We sat down, looked at the figures and we took the decision that schools should not open. Unfortunately, we have to state this because it is supposed to be a collective decision, but you must understand that the schools we are talking about, the Federal Government has only about 100 out of thousands of schools.
The schools are under the jurisdiction of states and just as the PTF was unanimous in saying that schools should not open, states were unanimous that schools should open. So, we have to compromise and as PTF we shall monitor what is happening on a daily basis. There could be some review again”, Adamu stated.