PTF reveals Nigeria now in COVID-19 second wave, warns of fresh lockdown if….

*We have entered a second wave of infections, and we stand the risk of not just losing the gains from the hard work of the last nine months but also losing the precious lives of our citizens, say PTF on COVID-19

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

In view of recent increases in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 says there are indications that Nigeria has entered a second wave of infections.

Mr. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the PTF who gave the indication, lamented the risk of not just losing the gains from the hard work of the last nine months, but also losing precious lives of citizens.

The PTF’s concerns are being expressed ahead of next week’s submission of its end of term report to the President on December 22, 2020.

Sen. Hadi Sirika, Honourable Minister of Aviation, at the national briefing Thursday, December 17 the PTF Chairman, who was represented by the said: “The events and statistics of the last two weeks, within and outside Nigeria, have been very mixed.

“On the one hand, the cheering news of the COVID-19 vaccine, while on the other hand, we have witnessed spikes in number of infections at home and abroad.

“The real threat is upon humanity and the progress made in the global health sector in the last five decades or more.”

According to PTF on COVID-19, in Nigeria the indication is that “we have entered a second wave of infections, and we stand the risk of not just losing the gains from the hard work of the last nine months but also losing the precious lives of our citizens.

“The PTF believes that if we do the right things, adhere to the NPIs and step up our testing and detection, loss of lives will be minimised and the rising curve will begin to flatten.”

Mustapha further stated: “We are in a potentially difficult phase of the COVID-19 resurgence; accessing the hope offered by the arrival of the vaccine is still some time ahead.

“Vaccines alone cannot cure the virus, rather, but a combination of initiatives, including the NPIs; that more than ever before, we need compliance.”

The SGF also stated that the PTF “shall escalate our risk communication and community engagement strategies to higher levels.

“Lives have been lost, but we must slow down the pace of the spread; and at the rate at which the numbers are rising should be examined and our vigilance and compliance with the NPIs should be intensified,” he said

As regards the report submitted next week Mustapha said: “Last Tuesday, the PTF held the end of term technical session.

“It afforded the PTF the opportunity to assess the progress made and the present dangers that confront us.

“The report of the PTF will be submitted to the President on Tuesday, 22nd December, 2020.

“Current realities, however, point to the fact that the course of further opening up of the economy may have to be reviewed,” he said.

When cautioning Nigerians prior to Christmas season, the PTF said: “The festive season is here and we remain conscious of the fact that large gathering events will take place.

“It is our strong advice that all non-essential trips be cancelled outrightly. We also urge citizens to avoid large gathering events.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has urged Nigerians to comply with COVID-19 health guidelines as the yuletide season beckons.

The call is reportedly part of the National Economic Council (NEC) resolution after a meeting presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.

Recently, the country has witnessed a surge in the number of new Coronavirus infections of the deadly pandemic.

According to NEC, “the current trends are now approaching or surpassing the levels reached during the lockdown that was imposed at the height of the epidemic earlier in the year.”

The increase has been caused by Nigerians not complying with COVID-19 prevention guidelines, including the wearing of masks, hand washing and physical distancing.

It said: “NEC, therefore, wishes to reemphasise the importance of these measures.

“Particularly as we approach the end of the year and the social gatherings associated with the holiday season, we must avoid activities or behaviour that may aggravate the situation and necessitate another lockdown.”

The NEC further resolved that “the continued spread of COVID-19 puts increased pressure on our already fragile health systems and threatens Nigeria’s economy.

The Council, therefore, urged traditional, social and religious leaders to play their own part by promptly taking responsible and decisive actions to help stop the spread and upsurge of the virus in Nigeria.

“States are also encouraged to take any further steps as may be considered necessary in their areas,” said NEC.

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