The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and chairman of the Presidential Task Force on the Control of COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, has said contracting the dreaded Coronavirus does not amount to automatic death sentence.
Speaking at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force Monday in Abuja, the SGF said Nigerians can avoid contracting the disease by complying with non-pharmaceutical interventions of wearing a face mask, maintaining social distancing, ensuring regular hand-washing and staying and working from home.
He said the virus poses danger when the relevant authorities fail to detect, test, isolate and treat infected persons.
“I wish to re-emphasise that COVID-19 is not a death sentence, but it becomes dangerous when we fail to detect, TEST isolate and treat. We can avoid contracting it by complying with non-pharmaceutical interventions of wearing a face mask, maintaining social distancing, hand-washing, staying and working from home if practicable.
“Similarly, we can achieve more if we stop stigmatisation,capacity and opportunities for testing have been expanded, with the opening of 40 laboratories and creation of more testing centres including some certified private sector medical facilities.
“I, therefore, encourage all Nigerians to get tested to enable us to fight this pandemic. We have done it before and we shall do it again. The handling of the EBOLA virus, Lassa Fever, our becoming a polio-free country and successful exit from other communicable diseases over the years should give us comfort that COVID-19 would also be put behind us,” he said.
Commenting on some governors and other high profile Nigerians who have come down with the virus, the SGF said the pandemic does not discriminate, hence the need for vigilance by all and sundry.
“Recently, we have witnessed a high rate of positive cases especially among people in authority. This has a direct impact on governance and security of our nation. We urge that vigilance and care should be exhibited by all Nigerians irrespective of status. This virus does not discriminate and the PTF shall keep sustaining its sensitization messaging,” he said.
He said the PTF would be carrying out its mid-term review between Thursday and Friday, having crossed the three months/half time threshold of its life span. He said the review would involve a comprehensive examination of the steps taken, the challenges and charting the way forward.
On the planned resumption of flight operations, the SGF warned that all passengers desirous of flying must study and observe the guidelines released by the aviation experts.
“The PTF informed you last week that new protocols will be released regarding how the aviation sector will safely reopen, bearing in mind global standards on safety and security. The Ministry of Aviation has released the protocols and shall begin to run public sensitization on it. We urge all travelers to study the protocols carefully and comply. We shall be putting in place critical measures to mitigate the risk associated with travels,” he said.