The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha,who doubles as the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha has disclosed that Nigeria is winning the war against COVID-19 and strike at this time is not necessary.
Boss Mustapha during the COVID-19 Press briefing on Monday said: “Nigeria continues to progressively witness declining confirmed cases of COVID-19 with a record low number of 79 cases on Sunday, September 13, 2020. While this suggests that we are winning this war, the reality is that we need to improve on our commitment to eliminate the virus completely by abiding with the protocols so that we can return to a semblance of what was our normal life.
“In a very modest way, therefore, we could say that our National Response, under the guidance of Mr. President, is achieving impressive results and this has been commended by our development partners. The PTF wishes to use this opportunity to also thank our development partners as their support has contributed in no small measures to the successes so far recorded and we count on their continued support as we progress in tackling this pandemic.
One critical element we must not loose sight of is the fact that our cautious approach has tremendously helped in our containment efforts. Therefore, we should avoid complacency at all cost. Our focus should go beyond flattening the curve and ridding our land of this virus just as we did with the polio virus.
Similarly, the contribution of our health workers has no doubt contributed to our gains. In this regard, the PTF wishes to appreciate the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) for calling off their strike action. The PTF, however, views the recent declaration of industrial action by the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) as rather unfortunate and capable of reducing our gains and endangering more loss of lives. We, therefore, call on JOHESU to stand up to be counted at this critical moment because a continuation of the strike could jeopardize the small gains made in the fight against the virus and the efforts to transform our health systems. The Hon. Minister of Labour & Employment has assured that every effort is being made to resolve all issues and have JOHESU call its members back to work.
The PTF, therefore appreciates Mr. President for keeping our land borders closed because those are potential seeding points for importing the virus into Nigeria. More so, as ECOWAS Champion of the COVID-19 response, Mr. President should adopt all practical means of containing the virus within the sub-continent of West Africa.
The PTF has received with encouragement, the recent United Nations General Assembly omnibus resolution seeking for a comprehensive and coordinated global response to the coronavirus pandemic which further amplifies the significance of Mr. President’s role in the West African Region.
The PTF is aware that a number of sub-nationals have announced the re-opening of schools from this week, while others have developed a phased plan for such re-opening. I wish to re-iterate the need for more vigilance in adhering to protocols appropriately developed with the guidance of experts. The fear of a likely spike and/or resurgence should always put us on our toes. Always remember that a number of countries including Israel have announced new stringent measures. These are warning signs for us in Nigeria and Africa.
Before I close this remark, I am compelled to remind Nigerians, to always wear a face mask or face covering and do so properly. Similarly, I remind you to avoid crowded places and mass gatherings, stay at home if going out is unnecessary and maintain hygienic practices.