The World Health Organisation (WHO) has resumed clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment for coronavirus, Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) and chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Control of COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, said on Thursday.
The SGF said this at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force in Abuja.“The WHO, as part of efforts to find a cure to the COVID-19, has resumed the inclusion of patients in the hydroxychloroquine arm of the study. The PTF however advises against self-medication in all circumstances,” he said.
He said the Presidential Task Force was worried about reports of citizens refusing to help with contact tracing and going into isolation after testing positive.
He said Presidential Task Force would not hesitate to review the ease on the lockdown or the re-opening of worship centres to prevent risks of transmission.
“It is in the interest of everybody that contacts are traced so as to slow down the spread. It is also in our interest to go into isolation facilities for close monitoring.
“A number of fatalities have been recorded due to change in the condition of patients while staying outside the isolation facilities. Our appeal is that if agents of the state get in touch with you regarding testing, contact tracing activities, please cooperate.
“Citizens that test positive should be prepared to be quarantined and to monitor our health for onset of symptoms because it is important for us to break the chain of transmission and prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in our dear country,” he said.
He said following the red flag raised and enumerated efforts to cut down the rate of infection among medical workers, the NCDC is stepping up training on infection prevention and control to slow this emerging situation down.“We need our health workers to be healthy and available. As always, we remain very proud of you all,” he said.
He said the PTF would continue to monitor the overall compliance to the easing of restrictions and evolution of the outbreak.
“The response needs to be decentralized to the local governments level, identifying high burden LGAs and ensuring mapping of adequate support to rapidly trace, test and treat cases.
“States need to drive aggressive campaigns to engage communities in order to address behavior change and debunk misconceptions and stigma. Traditional and religious institutions have a role to play in sensitizing communities about COVID 19,” he said.
The SGF said there was the need for the public to be aware of the guidelines set for restricted opening of places of worship.
He said the national guidelines have been shared with state governments to be agreed with religious leaders.
He said the PTF has received inquiries on some aspects of the guidelines, assuring that they have been simplified as much as possible and the dissemination has already commenced through the electronic and print media.
“Compliance is important so as to avoid unwanted consequences that put the lives of people at risk of contracting COVID19. We urge utmost caution at all times. The PTF will continue to monitor the overall compliance to the easing of restriction as well as evolution of the outbreak.
“However, we will not hesitate to review as we progress, should the situation warrant, to avoid preventable risks of transmission,” he said.
The nation is now in the planting season, and that farmers involved in land preparation and planting of crops have been exempted from the restrictions put in place, to guarantee a seamless flow of agricultural activities.
“It is therefore important that we do everything possible to guarantee our food security by supporting our hardworking farmers to function. I, therefore appeal to all the various task forces and security personnel at the sub-national levels to ensure easy passage of these inputs to our farmers,” he said.
He said the country continues to receive support from development partners, stressing that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Wednesday delivered test reagents, kits and a PCR Machine to the country.