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Escape from COVID-19 isolation centres must stop, says FG




…asks states to provide adequate security at centre


…trend ‘ll spike number of infected persons

…frowns at breach of inter-state travel ban


Worried by reports of decampment and abscondment at some isolation centres across the country, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, has asked state governments to provide a watertight and lock-in security for those at the centres.


Describing it as unhealthy, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and PTF Chairman, Mr Boss Mustapha, called for a halt to the practice as it was capable of endangering the lives of care managers and frontline workers.



He spoke on Thursday in Abuja at the daily media briefing by the committee on the coronavirus situation across the country.


Persecondnews recalls that Oyo State Government had on Wednesday announced that two of the 33 active cases being managed for COVID-19 at an isolation centre have escaped.


Mustapha said: “The PTF has become aware of a number of challenges associated with management of the isolation centres. These have manifested in the form of protests over welfare, abscondment from centres and loud complaints based on the assumption by persons under observation, that drugs must be administered.


“The first two are unhealthy developments capable of undermining the containment measures and putting the lives of care managers and frontline workers at risk. Similarly, persons in isolation are encouraged to follow the direction and instructions of the experts during their stay as treatment to be administered would largely depend on the evaluation of the doctor.


“We however urge all State Governments to continue to pay attention to the welfare of people in isolation and for security agencies to provide adequate security around such facilities to prevent escape.”


The SGF reminded Nigerians that the current fight against COVID-19 was a war, hence the need for all to resist attempts by few individuals or groups to endanger the lives of others.



“It is important to remember that this is a war in which every Nigerian is a combatant and must resist any effort by a few individuals or groups, to endanger our collective survival.’’


While urging Nigerians to continue to comply with the guidelines issued under Phase One of the eased restrictions, Mustapha said the guidelines must be sustained.


“These are unusual times and the seemingly calm atmosphere should not be construed as a return to normalcy. Non-compliance is manifesting in several ways and could be costly in the future.’’


On inter-state travels, Mustapha said reports from various parts of the country indicated high level of non-compliance with the ban on inter-state travels despite the curfew and border restrictions.


He noted: “Lack of respect for timing and the curfew also resulted in heavy traffic gridlock where many motorists spent the night following the enforcement of the curfew; increasing level of abuse of exemption granted to vehicles conveying specified goods.


“Reports across the country show that they continue to hide passengers with the intention of ferrying them across state boundaries and continual transportation of Almajiris across state borders is still evident.


“I have highlighted the foregoing as it relates to the road transportation sector to underscore the dangers inherent in the seeding of the virus across states. I however commend the security agencies for their vigilance in apprehending and prosecuting violators. It is, worrisome, however, to note reports received about isolated cases of compromise by some security operatives.


“We urge the various commands of the security agencies to enhance their monitoring machinery to ensure that we do not only achieve the objective of stopping the spread of the virus but also prevent the good name of the services from being tarnished. We also implore all Nigerians to alert the security agencies whenever they witness the violation of these guidelines.


“It is important to remember that this is a war in which every Nigerian is a combatant and must resist any effort by a few individuals or groups, to endanger our collective survival.”


On the various claims of inventions and cures for COVID-19, the SGF expressed the PTF’s support to such initiatives and research.


“The PTF, as part of its mandate, remains supportive of and receptive to outcomes of research. It however finds it imperative to reiterate its position on the need for such discoveries to undergo the scientific validation processes.


“The PTF is aware that the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Department, of the Federal Ministry of Health, has been evaluating such claims and forwarded some that have met the preliminary requirements to the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to carry out the necessary procedures for listing.


“At the briefing of Wednesday 6th May, 2020, we urged professional bodies and trade associations, community and religious bodies along with other relevant stakeholders to take up the challenge of creating awareness on COVID-19 and also project into the post-COVID 19 era,’’ Mustapha stressed.


He also said:“I am pleased to inform you that the Nigerian Institute of Architects has taken up this challenge and has in addition conveyed the commitment of members of the institute in all states of the Federation, to offer free consultancy services (design, remodeling, supervision etc) for COVID-19 related infrastructure such as isolation centres, test laboratories and upgrading of health facilities.


“While the PTF deeply appreciates this offer and look forward to receiving such from other professional bodies, we urge all State Governments to save costs by taking advantage of this offer.”


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