Worried by rising cases of Coronavirus particularly among health workers, the Federal Government has appealed to Nigerians to stop doubting the existence of the virus and take full responsibility for their lives through compliance with COVID-19 protocols.
It also urged them to be vigilant and protect themselves against infection.
The government spoke through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha.
He told a media briefing of the taskforce in Abuja on Tuesday: “From our analysis, we are beginning to see the effect of activities carried out during the Christmas festivities.
“We can only hope that numbers will not escalate beyond control. We however, still appeal to all citizens to take full responsibility through compliance and vigilance.”
Expressing regrets that in spite of appeals to Nigerians to stay safe and be protective, Mustapha noted that many had let down their guards especially during the holidays. This is already showing in the health sector, he said.
Mustapha announced that the country recorded 1,204 infections on January 4, 2021, the highest so far.
“As at date, the statistics for Nigeria shows the following: Cumulative cases: 91,351; Cumulative Tests: 958,911; Deaths: 1,318; Week 53 recorded 57 deaths which is the highest for any single week since we started.
“There is also a rising rate of infections among health care workers and this calls for the escalation of surveillance. In Africa, Nigeria has joined South Africa in reporting the highest daily infection cases.
“As we have always maintained, testing is a key strategy under the national response. To this end we can report that there are about 100 laboratories across the country.
“These are 71 public labs; 22 private labs and 7 corporate labs. Collectively, they are to help improve testing in the country,” the federal government scribe also said, noting that there is still very low tests of people for the virus in the states.
Mustapha said:“To overcome some of these challenges, the PTF will intensify the risk communication and community engagement to create awareness. The share level of doubts about the virus is alarming and I call on every one to become advocates in support of the National Response.
“In continuation of the NYSC engagement, the PTF has conducted the testing of batch B Corpers using RDTs. Out of the 35,419 in the Batch B, 731 tested positive compared to 108 recorded during the Batch A. It is on record that cases were recorded from Corps Members from every State of the Federation.
“In the last two weeks, a lot has been discussed on case management and in particular, the availability of oxygen to save lives. We are pleased to inform you that the private sector – CACOVID has commenced supporting our response with 100 oxygen cylinders per day till the end of March, 2021, for distribution to critical care centres in Abuja.
“Furthermore, approval has been given to rehabilitate five oxygen plants across various tertiary health institutions in Abuja.
“The President has also approved that at least one oxygen plant should be established in each state of the federation immediately. The National Coordinator will elaborate on this during this briefing.”
On vaccines, Mustapha said the PTF was working on getting the vaccines for Nigerians.
“What is currently confronting us is a critical phase of infections globally. We are constantly reviewing our strategy to emerging situations especially in risk communication, vaccine hesitancy, fake news/disinformation.
“ I wish to confirm that the PTF has commenced the sanctions on passengers who defaulted on day-7 post arrival tests.
“Nigerians should be aware that every defaulter is a threat to public health which is unacceptable to us and represent a draw back to the National Response.
“We have a duty to advise our relations, friends, associates to comply with laid down rules. The DG (NCDC) and the National Coordinator will update you on this.
“Their passport numbers have been published and travel restriction imposed for a period of six months effective 1st January, 2021.
“The PTF has generated over 20,000 inbound passengers that have also defaulted. The publication will continue weekly till it is exhausted,” the PTF chair disclosed.