COVID-19: FG mulls another lockdown, says Nigeria at risk

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The Federal Government has expressed concern at the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying its earlier decision to reopen the economy may have to be reviewed.

Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce PTF on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha disclosed this at Thursday’s briefing of the Taskforce.

Mustapha who is currently on isolation was represented at the briefing by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.

“We have witnessed spikes in the number of infections at home and abroad. The real threat is upon humanity and the progress made in the global health sector in the last five decades or more.

“In Nigeria, the indication is that we have entered the second wave of infections and we stand the risk of not just losing the gains from the hard work of the last nine months but also not losing the precious lives of our citizens. The PTF believes that if we do the right things, adhere to the NPIs and step up our testing and detection, loss of lives will be minimized and the rising curve will begin to flatten out.

“Last Tuesday, the PTF held the end of the term technical session. It afforded the PTF the opportunity to assess the progress made and the present dangers that confront us. The Report of the PTF will be submitted to the President on Tuesday, 22nd December 2020.
“Current realities, however, point to the fact that the course of further opening up of the economy may have to be reviewed.”, he stated.

The PTF also advised against travelling during the Yuletide, stating that over the next few days it would be taking some major decisions to stop “this rollback of all the successes that we have recorded”.

On his part, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said “Nigeria’s epidemiological trend has already started to show that the curve is rising again with the total number of active cases now 7,087, and a corresponding increase in the number of serious cases requiring hospital admission in High Dependency Units for oxygen therapy, or mechanical ventilation support in Intensive Care Units.

“If we include those in the hospital for observation, the need for more hospital beds will become more acute. This is an indication of what the second wave is and we all have to play a role in confronting.

“Following this new surge the Ministry of Health is working with Federal Tertiary hospitals on the reactivation of treatment centres assessing resources available and needed and alerting frontline health workers. We are strengthening the covid-19 home care treatment protocol for asymptomatic and mild cases and community-based care by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, in management of moderate to severe cases. We have also commenced inventory taking and plan to distribute wide a range of resources available in our warehouses, according to need. These include PPEs commodities, equipment and consumables for deployment to treatment centres.
“On the backend, the Technical Working Group of the Federal Ministry of Health on Covid-19 is examining modalities to obtain access to vaccines for Nigeria. They are in conversation with the WHO-GAVI on the COVAX- AMC facility, to support 180 lower and lower-middle-income countries to access anti-covid vaccines.

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