By Johnbosco Agbakwuru – Abuja
The Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19 on Monday explained that the mortality rate of the disease is low in Nigeria compared to other countries with similar climatic characteristics.
The PTF said that the mortality rate of the disease is low due to the age bracket of most of those infected by the virus.
Chairman of the task force and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, stated this after he led his team to brief President Muhammadu Buhari on the progress of the national response to the pandemic at the presidential villa, Abuja on Monday.
Speaking to State House correspondents, he said 80 percent of the infections were in the age bracket of 31 to 40 years, which he described as a very active part of the population.
According to him, even when they have the infection, they are able to surmount it because of their level of energy.
However, he added that the PTF was worried about the remaining 20 percent as he said nobody knows who may become a victim among them.
Therefore, he said, everything was being done to protect the vulnerable such as the elderly and those with underlying illnesses.
He also hinted that the government may introduce precision lockdown for pinpoint management of coronavirus hotspots.
According to him, 18 out of the 774 local governments in the country have been identified as responsible for 60 percent of the confirmed cases in the country.
He added that the reason for the precision lockdown will be to place specific measures in certain places especially by state governments to enable aggressive testing for the disease and management.
He said, “We always meet with Mr. President to do a review of the national response to COVID-19.
“This is critical because it’s the 5th interim report that we submit a review, it also provides the opportunity to brief him on the progress made so far. Today is the last day of the second phase ease lockdown so we needed to update him on the successes, the consolidation that has taken place, and the challenges.
“He was quite responsive to the issues that we raised and the considerations that we put in place.
” We drew a comparison of what the infections were one month ago and what it is now. On the 28th of March, 2020, globally we had about 5.5 million infections, on the African continent we had 89,000 infections and in Nigeria on the 28th of May, we had eight thousand plus infections.
“Mortality rate, most countries see about five point something percent, while in Nigeria we are seeing a figure of two-point something percent. So we have been able to keep our mortality rate down.
“No lives lost can be ignored, it’s sad but we are trying to do the best we can in the circumstance in trying to balance lives and livelihood as we prepare for the next phase of the response.
“One of our major appeals is that right now we are at the advance stage of the community transmission and at that stage, there is hardly much that government can do, the best we can is to push the narrative that we have been saying over last three months, realizing and being conscious of the fact that there is no vaccine in sight, no drugs have gotten for the cure of Covid-19, the only thing that we will continue to preach to our people to adhere to is the non-pharmaceutical interventions we have pushed in the last three months.
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“Maintain physical distancing wearing of non-medical masks in public places, maintaining proper hygiene of washing of hands and sanitizing of hands. These are the only form or remedies available now.
“The precision lockdown like I have said, we have identified 18 local governments out of the 774 local government that is considered to be high burden with this infection and they account for 60 percent of 24, 077 infections.
“The reason for the precision lockdown is to place in those places specific measures that will be administered by state governments and local authorities. It is not for the federal government, it’s the responsibilities of State and local authorities.”