…Says, ‘We would have flattened the curve but for your nonchalance’
…14 medical doctors killed so far
….Warns youths against violation of protocols
…To operate the principle of reciprocity for int’l flights
…Moves to access vaccine doses
By Omeiza Ajayi
The Presidential Taskforce PTF on Covid-19 has blamed Nigerians for the continued non-compliance with Covid-19 safety protocols, saying it would have flattened the curve by now, but for the lackadaisical attitude of Nigerians towards containing the pandemic.
It also lamented the increasing Covid-19 case fatalities in the country, disclosing that of the 985 deaths recorded so far, 14 of them were medical doctors who contracted the virus in the line of duty.
“In coordinating this national response, I can assure you that our biggest challenge has been the attitude of some Nigerians. That is our biggest challenge. Everything to fight Covid-19 has been placed out our disposal. We arrested the 2020 budget and got it revised, all in an attempt to deal with the financial means in fighting Covid-19.
“We are not in short of any resources to fight Covid-19. We have coordinated a national response that took in everybody that matters in this country. The corporate world through CA-COVID has amassed a huge war-chest of resources.
“So, our major challenge as a Presidential Taskforce has been the attitude of some Nigerians. With our response, we would have flattened the curve. We would have dampened this ravaging virus by now if we had just complied with simple instructions and that brings me to a major thing which was aptly demonstrated yesterday when I presented a memorandum to the president for the introduction of a National Policy on Ethics and Integrity. Most of us think that as Nigerians we only have rights but there are corresponding responsibilities that you are expected to exhibit as a citizen of the country.
“This morning, Nigerians woke up to the stark reality that our confirmed cases of COVID-19 have crossed the 50,000 marks standing at 50,488 and a death toll of 985 bringing us close to the unenviable record of 1,000 fatalities. These records are not landmarks to be celebrated especially as every single death further underscores the grief and pains of families and friends, scuttled lives that could have contributed to national development and abridging God’s purpose for the lost soul. This is aptly demonstrated by the fact that 14 of these paid the supreme sacrifice as they were doctors who toiled daily to save lives”, said Boss Mustapha, Chairman of the Taskforce and Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF.
Mustapha who disclosed this during Thursday’s briefing of the Taskforce said the coronavirus continues to display unpredictable characteristics that show its relentless nature on populations that disregard common and simple protective measures.
He said it would be extremely selfish for Nigerian youths to continue to flout the safety protocols and carry on without sparing a thought for their safety and those of the vulnerable.
“Such behaviour has been amplified in the surge in some states of the United States of America. Similarly, this unpredictability is reflected in the last twenty-four hours when Plateau State witnessed the highest daily number of confirmed cases.
“In the last two days, the World Health Organisation WHO had issued warnings on Vaccine Nationalism and that young people are aiding the spread of the virus. The latter is more germane for us as Nigerians with our over 80% youthful population and should give us more cause to be on our guard. It would border on extreme selfishness for our youths to believe that since they are asymptomatic carriers they can carry on with life as they please. More so that being asymptomatic does not guarantee immunity forever. The PTF is, however, encouraged by the fact that majority of our youths are in the vanguard of this fight and still call on the few non-conforming ones to join”, he said.
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According to the SGF, Nigeria’s testing infrastructure has been increased to undertake up to 15,000 tests per day, but unfortunately, Nigeria is currently testing between 3,000 to 6,000 daily due mainly to people still not subjecting themselves to testing.
The government explained that the increasing number of cases from Plateau state was due to an improvement in testing, saying a lot of people are now being tested daily in the state.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika who reiterated the decision of the federal government to commence international flights as from August 29, adding that Nigeria would implement the principle of reciprocity with countries who have barred Nigerians from flying into their countries.
He said Nigeria will treat citizens of other countries the way their home countries treat Nigerian citizens, saying those who have barred flights from Nigeria would not also be allowed into the country
Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said the Federal Government is working with relevant partners to be able to access vaccines when they are eventually developed.
“Nigeria is also working with the World Health Organization to finalize enrollment with ACT Accelerator, a global mechanism tracking and sponsoring research Organizations working on covid19 vaccine development. We are also interested in the COVAX facility, a GAVI supported global initiative to procure and assure equitable access to vaccines, as soon as they are available, especially for Lower and lower middle-Income Countries (LMIC). This will prioritize Nigeria for allocation of a part of 2 billion vaccines doses that will be secured, in a special plan to protect the interests of poorer countries”.