COVID-19: Nigeria Records 50, 488 Case- SGF
REMARKS BY THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION/CHAIRMAN OF THE PTF-COVID-19 AT THE NATIONAL PRESS BRIEFING OF THURSDAY 20th AUGUST, 2020
I welcome you all to the National Briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 for Thursday, 20th August, 2020.
2. This morning, Nigerians woke up to the stark reality that our confirmed cases of COVID-19 have crossed the 50,000 mark standing at 50,488 and a death toll of 985 bringing us close to the unenviable record of 1,000 fatalities. These records are not landmarks to be celebrated especially as every single death further underscores the grief and pains of families and friends, scuttled lives that could have contributed to national development and abridging God’s purpose for the lost soul. This is aptly demonstrated by the fact that Fourteen (14) of these paid the supreme sacrifice as they were doctors who toiled daily to save lives. We would continually pray for the repose of all the lost souls and work to ensure that their deaths are not in vain.
3. The most edifying tribute and respect we can pay to these people is to do the basic minimum in avoiding such fatalities. The PTF would, therefore, not fail to continue on the path of moral persuasion because the superiority of personal conviction on grounds of morality remains a more effective and dignified approach in appealing to our individual and collective conscience on the need to wear our mask properly, maintain social distances, avoid crowded places and maintain personal hygiene.
4. It is hoped that when implementation of the National Policy on Ethics and Integrity, that was approved by the Federal Executive Council yesterday commences, Nigerians would have the necessary incentive and impetus to always do the appropriate thing in all circumstances. Because if we have relied on our age-old value systems of integrity, adhering to guidelines would be second nature to us as citizens.
5. The corona virus continues to display unpredictable characteristics that show its relentless nature on populations that disregard common and simple protective measures. Such behaviour has been amplified in the surge in some states of the United States of America. Similarly, this unpredictability is reflected in the last twenty-four hours when Plateau State witnessed the highest daily number of confirmed cases.
6. In the last two days, the World Health Organisation (W.HO.) had issued warnings on Vaccine Nationalism and that young people are aiding the spread of the virus. The latter is more germane for us as Nigerians with our over 80% youthful population and should give us more cause to be on our guard. It would border on extreme selfishness for our youths to believe that since they are asymptomatic carriers they can carry on with life as they please. More so that being asymptomatic does not guarantee immunity forever. The PTF is, however, encouraged by the fact that majority of our youths are in the vanguard of this fight and still call on the few non-conforming ones to join.
7. This call becomes more imperative when we realise that from an initial ten (10) hotspot Local Government Areas in the country, we moved to sixteen (16) and now have twenty (20) of such, indicating spread to other areas. More worrisome is the fact that the initial hotspot areas were easily accessible to medical support. Albeit, the new ones are areas more removed from such support.
8. Furthermore, the recent case of infection amongst some students sitting for the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations calls for more vigilance by the education sector and all of us.
9. So far, our National Response has shown that Nigeria is following the science through effective case management but need to improve our testing. Our testing infrastructure has been increased to undertake up to 15,000 tests per day but we are currently testing between 3,000 to 6,000 daily due mainly to people still not subjecting themselves for testing. I, therefore, want to seize this opportunity to enjoin Nigerians to get tested.
10. The PTF continues to analyse and rely on data to forestall any sign of upsurge and adapting best global practices to sustain successes. That Nigeria, along with South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Algeria contributed to the recorded lowest weekly coronavirus confirmed cases is a testament of our successes. The challenge, therefore, remains for us to improve on the path of driving the pandemic out of Nigeria so that we can go back to our normal lives.
11. We are happy to inform you that our partners are still providing us with support to fight the pandemic and the recent novelty by the German Federal Foreign Office who donated €54,000 worth of PPEs, to be locally produced, to the Nigerian Immigration Service and the Ministry of Aviation is exciting. We, want to thank the people and Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and also encourage our local manufacturers to rise up to the challenge and produce more PPEs of international standard.
12. As we further open up the aviation sector, with the planned operation of international flights from 29th August, 2020 beginning with the Nnamdi Azikiwe and Murtala Mohammed International Airports (NAIA and MMIA), the PTF seeks the cooperation of all stakeholders to work at arriving mechanisms that would be mutually beneficial to all stakeholders. The Honourable Minister of Aviation would provide further details in the course of this briefing.
13. Lets keep arming the indefatigable Nigerian spirit to win this war and drive the virus out of our land.
Secretary to the Federal Government