Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Honourable Minister for Health Photo: VON

COVID-19: Let’s protect ourselves until there’s a vaccine, Minister warns Nigerians

*There could be regrets if we fail to adhere to Coronavirus protocols ─Dr. Osagie Ehanire

*Continue to observe all existing measures to curb further spread of pandemic ─PTF on COVID-19 Chair Boss Mustapha

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Acknowledging the fact that several Nigerians now know real people who have died due to COVID-19 complications while restating that the virus will stay for a long time, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Honourable Minister for Health, has warned that the country could regret if the citizenry do not follow protocols meant to curb the spread of the novel Coronavirus disease.

The Minister issued the warning at a briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, in Abuja, FCT, Monday, August 10.

Specifically, Dr. Ehanire who referenced that of the 46,577 cases of the virus identified in the country thus far, 945 persons have died.

He described the unfortunate situation as a sad reminder that the disease is real.

The Minister reminded Nigerians that until a vaccine is found for the virus, adherence to the guidelines is the surest way to stay safe.

He explained that unlike before, many Nigerians now know people who have died due to COVID-19 complications, restating that the virus will stay for a long time.

He said: “Many more Nigerians today personally knew a person who succumbed to COVID-19; and so, I ask that we remind ourselves today that COVID-19 is still with us and will be for a long time.

“Until there is a vaccine, the only options we have to protect ourselves, are still the non-pharmaceutical measures that are proven to be cheap and effective, such as the appropriate use of face masks, physical distancing, and avoiding crowds.

“If we do not adhere, there could be regrets.

“We must make an effort to balance the benefits of a reactivated economy with the need to keep citizens safe, with no loss in gains so far made.”

While giving an insight into the country’s COVID-19 cases, Ehanire revealed that as of August 10, 2020, Nigeria had tested 17,496 samples with 33,186 persons discharged.

The COVID-19 infections have now been found in 549 of the 774 local government areas in Nigeria, adding that half the number of cases are concentrated in 20 council areas.

He said: “Half of all cases in Nigeria so far are concentrated in 20 Local Government Areas, which could offer the attractive option of targetted attention, to focus on case finding, Isolation, and treatment.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Government also has warned the populace that the comparatively low COVID-19 cases shouldn’t be misinterpreted for victory over the fatal pandemic.

Mr. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of PTF on COVID-19, told reporters at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, in Abuja, Monday, that warned that the country has yet to win the ‘war’ against the pandemic.

Mustapha stated that it is important that the daily low test and case confirmation numbers should not be misinterpreted to mean that Nigeria has overcome.

According to him, the government has over time ramped up testing, but there was more to be done to raise the quantum of test per million.

Photo: Channels TV

An analysis, he said, showed that five states still account for 60 percent of cumulative cases and 689 out of the 774 local government areas (LGAs) have reported at least one case.

The PTF chairman decried that 85 LGAs in 20 states remain with no testing done and no case reported while 50 per cent of all the cases were in 20 per cent of the nation’s LGAs.

He insisted that Nigeria has yet to reach the peak of the pandemic but noted that the PTF was happy that many survivors were telling their stories and sharing them on social media.

Mustapha believes the stories of those who he said doubted the existence of the virus and became infected and are now expressing appreciation for the timely intervention of the case management team, have provided compelling proof that the virus is real.

He, therefore, called on the people to continue to observe all existing measures towards curbing the further spread of the disease in the country.

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