COVID-19 on Sallah Period: PTF Extends Lockdown by One Week
REMARKS BY THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION/CHAIRMAN OF THE PTF-COVID-19 AT THE NATIONAL PRESS BRIEFING OF MONDAY, 27TH JULY, 2020
I welcome you all to the National Briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 for Monday, 27th July, 2020.
2.You will recall that we briefed the nation on the 29th of June, 2020 sequel to the approval of Mr. President for the extension of phase two of the eased lockdown by another four weeks. That extension is due to expire on Wednesday 29th July, 2020 having commenced on June 30th 2020.
3.The PTF has continued to evaluate the developments as well as the level of compliance nationwide and has regrettably come to the inevitable conclusion that majority of Nigerians irrespective of status, creed and level of education continue to live in denial on the virulent nature of the virus and consistently breach the guidelines and non-pharmaceutical measures put in place.
4.We informed you two weeks ago that the process of submitting the 6th Interim Report and recommendations for next steps had commenced. The PTF has reached advanced stages of the process. It has also considered that due to the upcoming Sallah (Eid El-Kabir) festivities which coincides with the expiration of the current phase, it would be prudent to extend by one week, from 29th July, 2020 till Thursday 6th August, 2020. It has accordingly secured permission to retain the existing guidelines till that date.
5.Considering the importance of international air travel to the economy, the PTF and the Aviation Sector are working hard to fast track reopening of the international airspace. Most importantly, the arrival protocols for passengers on in-bound flights are being firmed up for seamless testing and detection. Relevant MDAs will be holding further consultations.
6.The COVID-19 remains very virulent and very dangerous. Current statistics show the following:
(i) Global Cases Recorded:16,380,397 cases from 215 countries,
Global Deaths: 651,198
Global Recoveries: 10,093,403
WHO statistics show that on 24th July, 2020 the world recorded 284,000 confirmed cases and 9,750 deaths. Both were records in terms of the spike in daily numbers and they represent a red flag to all nations.
7.Our analysis has shown that people over 50 years of age especially those with underlying factors remain most at risk. This position is backed by the fact that 65% of fatalities recorded in Nigeria are in this category. That brings me to the need to appeal to Nigerians on the need for a change of behavior and compliance with guidelines and measures put in place. If you do not need to go outside your home, please stay indoors. Avoid large gatherings and observe all the measures.
8.In recent times, our risk communication teams have developed messages aimed at resonating very well with different demographic groups. The common string is the message for compliance and the proper wearing of face masks and coverings in public spaces. The National Coordinator will be elaborating further on this.
9.As we prepare for the Eid El Kabir celebration, we also want to urge all our Muslim Brothers and Sisters and indeed all Nigerians to continue to observe all measures. We note with delight, the increasing number of States that have shelved activities during the Eid-el-kabir and we still urge others yet to do so, to follow suit. WHO has also issued Safe Eid practices in the context of COVID-19 and I urge us all to access and disseminate. The National coordinator will also elaborate on this.
10.Similarly, the PTF appreciates the Nigeria Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), who has always been a great champion in the fight against the pandemic for advising Muslims to avoid massive gatherings at Eid grounds and pray at Area Mosques under prescribed protocols.
11.Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to inform you that the PTF is making steady progress in bringing more states within the national network and reporting system. This will greatly enhance the outcome of the COVID-19 national response and will be more beneficial to the citizens of those States and the country in general.
12.I now invite the Honorable Minister of Health, the DG NCDC and the NC to present their updates.
Secretary to the Federal Government
PRESS BRIEFING BY HON. MINISTER OF HEALTH, DR. OSAGIE EHANIRE AT THE PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON COVID-19 PRESS BRIEFING ON MONDAY 27th JULY, 2020
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria crossed the 40,000 mark to 40,534 over the weekend, with 555 new cases recorded in the past 24 hours, of which 17,374 have been successfully treated and discharged. We have regrettably lost 858 persons, most of them with co-morbidities. With 262,579 persons tested, we have crossed the quarter million mark. When the epidemic curve will begin to flatten is still a matter of conjecture, given the relatively small fraction of our population that has been tested so far.
2.60 PCR Public Health laboratories are now active in Nigeria, which together should be in a position to address testing capacity challenges and ramp up utilization if only the logistics could be improved. This would, along with sheer community spread, be responsible for the rising trajectory of the epidemic curve in the population tested so far.
3. The 70 to 30 male to female gender ratio and the case fatality rate of 2.1% have not changed significantly. Two thirds of all fatalities remain in the over 50 year age group, while comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension, asthma, etc, are common among all fatalities. They underscore the need to protect senior citizens and the vulnerable from infection, by giving special attention to risk communication and priority for admission for observation and treatment. Of utmost concern are still the asymptomatic cases, with the potential to spread the disease, of whom the young and able bodied can be difficult to manage.
4. We continue to strive to improve the quality of services in our hospitals as more persons are admitted to treatment, not only for covid-19 infection, but also for routine and essential care. It is also our desire to reduce the fatality rates, and expand our treatment capacity such that our Health System is not overwhelmed. In this regard, the FMoH expects to take delivery of the newly completed Isolation Center at UATH Gwagwalada, as other centers are under construction nationwide.
5. The UN System in Nigeria informed us of the arrival of another consignment of essential COVID-19 related commodities yesterday, to be officially handed over to us. We remain appreciative of the UN System for this gesture and their consistent support, which greatly increases our reserves and recognizes our needs, especially of oxygen concentrators and PPEs, but also reassures our frontline healthworkers that we are well stocked and can ensure availability of essential items and consumables at point of use. I use this opportunity to formally introduce the Country Representative of the World Health Organization Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, who assumed duty here with us in Abuja some days ago, and wish him successful tenure, despite the challenging times.
6. I also use the opportunity to salute our frontline health workers, whose service helps reduce fatality. I urge them to continue their work in line with global best practices in case management and to keep themselves safe and take no risks. Coronavirus does not respect doctors or nurses.
7.As Sallah approaches, I again wish all our Muslim brethren a happy celebration and enjoin all persons not to forget prescribed precautions and to reduce risk of transmission even as we celebrate. Wear your face mask at all times, especially when out of your homes; wash hands regularly; use sanitizers, practice distancing, I again remind everyone that controlling the spread of covid19 is not the responsibility of government alone, but of us all, individually and collectively.
Dr. Osagie Ehanire