COVID-19: ‘Not Yet Uhuru,’ PTF Says, Briefs Buhari On Next Lockdown Easing Phase

Mustapha also stated that the 10,000 patients discharged in one day yesterday, did not suggest that Nigeria should begin to celebrate.

The SGF, Boss Mustapha, is the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 / photo credit:
The SGF, Boss Mustapha, is the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 / photo credit:

The Presidential Task Force on COVID -19 on Wednesday on Wednesday told Nigerians that the country was not yet in the clear regarding the COOVID-19 pandemic.

This is as the team submitted a report to President Muhammadu Buhari on the next phase of the easing of lockdown.

It was emphatic in saying that Nigeria was not yet out of the woods and “not yet Uhuru” for the country.

As has been the tradition, the task force, which is headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, will address the nation on Thursday on the next line of actions after Buhari’s approval of the report.

Mustapha spoke with State House Correspondents after the closed-door meeting with Buhari in Abuja.

He declined to go into specifics on what to expect next, but highlighted the general areas.

READ ALSO: New COVID-19 Cases In Nigeria Decline Further To 288

He stated, “But, I can give you a little bit of an insight as to where we are going. And that is informed by already three thematic areas. One has to deal with movement, two has to deal with labour and industries and three has to do with community activities.

“These are already three thematic areas that our recommendations would be driven by what will happen in these three basic areas going forward.”

The SGF noted that while it might appear that the figures of new infections in the country had been reducing in the past few days, the reason was mainly due to the Sallah break and the reduction in the number of tests conducted as well.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Records Lowest New Cases Of COVID-19 In Months

Mustapha also stated that the 10,000 patients discharged in one day yesterday, did not suggest that Nigeria should begin to celebrate.

He explained, “No, if you noticed, as we celebrated those discharges, there has also been a decrease in the testing. In the last couple of days we tested just barely 2,000 across the nation, but we have a testing capacity of much more thousands than 2,000.

“Another reason; everybody is still in the Sallah mood, even the essential workers, remember when I talked of fatigue, this is part of it. We have been doing this thing for the last three to four months, it gets to a point when you want to lay back and say we are already overcoming this.

“But I know that in the next couple of days, the testing will be more because people would have come out of the Sallah celebrations and come back to work. The sub-nationals and local governments will begin to go into the communities to search because this is the point at which you have to go into the local communities and begin to search.

“If you don’t do that, so much is happening as a result of the community transmission that has been cascaded into the local communities that if you wait for it to present itself, it will present itself in a very explosive manner and we can get into a panic mode.

“We don’t want to have that; that is why are encouraging the state governments to go into the local communities to ensure that they search for those infected with this virus, test them, if they are positive, isolate them and provide care for them.”

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s New COVID-19 Daily Cases Drop

He said the report mainly captured what had been done so far to combat the infection, adding that Buhari was impressed with the work of the task force.

Mustapha also took time to give a global update on the rate of infections.

He spoke further, “Basically, the report is capsulation of how we have come from where we started and we have looked at the last one month. We have realised that there has been a global increase in terms of infections, we looked at the global statistics.

“By the 4th of July, the number of infections globally was about 10 million but within a period of one month, from the 4th of July to 4th of August, there was an increase of almost eight million And the figure went up to 18 plus million.

“Similarly in Africa, by the 4th of July, we had about 300,000 infections but by 4 of August, it rose to over 800,000.

READ ALSO: 910 Nigerians Now Dead From COVID-19

“Similarly in Nigeria, by the 4th of July, we had about 28,000 infections but by yesterday, we had about 44,000.

“So all over the world the figures have increased. What message does that convey to us as a people and as a nation? That we are not out of the woods. The pandemic is on, the virus is ravaging and you know cumulatively, with the increase in the numbers there are increase in fatalities.

“On the African continent, if you look at what is happening in South Africa, the figures have gone beyond half a million infections.

“So, the numbers are increasing and that message is sobering. That in spite of the trillion of dollars that has been thrown against COVID-19, we have not been able to abet it’s ravaging effect in terms of infections and fatalities. So the Nigerian phenomenon is not different from what is happening all over the world.

“So the PTF has received a word of commendation from Mr President and encouragement, realising that it has gotten to a point if you look at the entire picture of what is happening with the level of compliance, fatigue, exhaustion and also an attitude of we give up will set in.”

The Interview Editors

Written by The Interview Editors

The Interview is a niche publication, targeting leaders and aspiring leaders in business, politics, entertainment, sports, arts, the professions and others within society’s upper middle class and high-end segment in Nigeria.