…fears about community transmission
…PTF commences door-to-door testing in Lagos, FCT
…no total lockdown yet
The Federal Government has described as worrisome the precipitous raise in the number coronavirus infected persons nationwide particularly in Kano State, fueling speculations of community transmission.
To date, out of the 782 confirmed cases of COVID-19, Kano has 73 cases and out of the 117 new cases of reported, Kano has 14 and is currently the third on the table after Lagos with 59 and FCT with 29.
Expressing government’s worry over the development, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, told Wednesday’s media briefing in Abuja that the task force was working in concert with Kano government to arrest the situation.
“The situation in Kano continues to be of concern, and the PTF is working in close contact with the State Government to arrest the situation. The PTF will update you as soon as there are new developments.
“The PTF notes that the number of cases has risen generally. This is attributable to expansion of our testing capacity and activities as well as evidence that community spread is taking place,” he said.
According to him, considering the dynamic nature of the response plan, the strategy for testing has been modified and door-to-door testing is now taking place in some communities in Lagos and Abuja.
Mustapha said testing, detection, isolation, care and case management remained central to the success of the anti-COVID-19 fight.
The SGF also commended the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, for his actions to prevent the spread of the virus especially during this year’s Ramadan which begins on Friday or Saturday (April 24 or 25) .
Mustapha said: “I want to use this medium to thank His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs for endorsing the recommendations of the Emergency Fatwah Committee by issuing a statement guiding the conduct of the Ummah during the Ramadan.
“The statement has directed the Ummah on the suspension of obligatory religious activities such as Jumaat, congregational and other sessions during the month of Ramadan to prevent the spread of COVID- 19.
“It similarly encouraged scholars and organisations to use all other means of communication and broadcast to disseminate information and conduct programmes. Our prayer is that the Almighty shall accept our collective supplication and show mercy.”
He, therefore, recommended the adoption of the directives by the states and implored state governors to consider the directives in taking further decisions.
Mustapha stresed the need for Nigerians and other nationals in the country to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 guidelines and protocols including personal hygiene, social distancing, wear of masks in public places, obeying the stay-at-home order and reporting unusual illnesses to the authorities for investigation.
Meanwhile, the National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, has disassociated himself from a statement credited to him proposing a complete lockdown of the country.
“My attention has been drawn to a fake task force media statement, which was said to be signed by me, talking about a proposed complete lockdown of the country.
“Not only did the statement patently failed, it was badly written. It is unfortunate that a small number of persons continued to engage mischief making at such a serious time when we are talking about Coronavirus infection.
“I must reiterate that the task force has not released any official statement on a complete lockdown, I refer to the SGF’s speech yesterday on submitting formal findings to Mr President, this is yet to happen.
“I request that the public and the media take caution in circulating or publishing unverified news. To be very clear, all formal statements on th emergency response are made through this daily press briefing or through official press statements.
“I’m asking for all parts of the media to continue to work with us to prevent the spread of divisive and harmful fake news.
“I will also like to applaud all those patients of COVID-19 and are now sharing the experiences on their own volition. This step is extremely harmful, encountering the wrong signal around COVID-19 infection.’’
On stigmitization of coronavirus patients, Aliyu explained: “When we stigmatise persons, when we discriminate against them, when we scold people, what happens is that they go into hiding at a time when they need help and support and it makes our job more difficult.
“We can only flatten the curve if people come out willingly to report symptoms based on case specification; like fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. We need to encourage more people to come out with symptoms so that we can test them and isolate them appropriately.”