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COVID-19 : Nigeria’s health system zero, fight by the grace of God — SGF Mustapha

Boss Mustapha

The Presidential Task Force Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, has expressed concern about the inaccessibility of some COVID-19 hots spots in the country.

He said:”Some of the hots spots are not easily accessible. That we are still standing as a country in the fight against COVID-19 is by the grace of God because our health system is zero.

“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.”

Mustapha spoke on Thursday at the PTF media briefing in Abuja.

He said the PTF would continue to get Nigerians to understand that the COVID-19 fight is about self-preservation.

“If we can get Nigerians to at least have slight attitudinal change, we would have flattened the curve. If we can up our game a little bit, I can assure you we will be able to handle the impact of this pandemic  until any form of treatment comes up.

“Similarly, this unpredictability is reflected in the last twenty-four hours when Plateau State witnessed the highest daily number of confirmed cases.

“​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,” he SGF said.

On the recent reported cases of infection among some students sitting for the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations in Gombe State, Mustapha expressed concern  about the development and emphasized the need for more vigilance by those in the education sector.

“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.”

The PTF chair blamed low COVID-19 testing of about 3,000 daily on failure of some Nigerians to come for test.

He allayed their fears, saying “everything we need to fight COVID-19 is at our disposal but the greatest challenge in fighting the pandemic has been the attitude of Nigerians”.

He said the pandemic curve would have been flattened the curve if many Nigerians had adhered to simple instructions.

The ambitious target of achieving two million COVID-19 tests within three months between May and July 2020, was not met.

The PTF Chairman said though Nigeria now had infrastructure to test up to 15,000 per day, the daily records show that tests done for now are between 3,000 and 6,000.

Mustapha said though it is gladdenning to note that the country had been diligently following science in its national response, there is need for Nigerians to start seeing the need to take advantage of the improved testing infrastructure and go out to get tested for COVID-19.

He emphasised the unpredictable nature of the virus, adding that it had been more devastating with populations that had failed to regard advice on precautions, highlighting the viciousness of its unpredictable nature with the surge in case records in Plateau State in the last 24 hours.

“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.

“​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.

On the planned resumption of international flights, the SGF said: “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.”

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