August 28, 2020

Plateau now new epicentre of pandemic —PTF

…COVID-19: FG shifts resumption of int’l flights to Sept.

…Says Lagos has reached its peak, but…

By Omeiza Ajayi

The Federal Government has announced a shift in the resumption of international flights from August 29 to September 5. Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Musa Shuaibu Nuhu, gave the new date during yesterday’s briefing of the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19 in Abuja.

“We have other non-aviation logistics we are still working on, mostly the COVID-19 protocol tests and online platform. We need to get this ready. In due course, we will be announcing the protocols for the resumptions and we will be giving further details. Hopefully early next week, we will release this.

International flights had been banned in March, while  domestic flights were later banned. However, in July, the country resumed domestic flights.

The PTF also lamented the growing spread of the virus, stating that the epicentre of the pandemic has gradually shifted to Plateau State, having earlier berth in Lagos and ravaged Kano, Ogun and Oyo states.

Chairman of the Task Force and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this at the briefing, noted that although Lagos has reached the  peak of the pandemic, it was not yet time to relax.

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“As we enter the last week of this extended eased lock-down phase, and note the impressively declining fatality ratio and reduction of confirmed cases, the PTF would also like to draw our attention to a subtle change in epicentre of the virus.

‘’We all recall that Lagos, Kano and Ogun states were the initial epicentres and this shifted to Oyo at a time, and now Plateau State. As mentioned by Lagos State Commissioner of Health and a notable COVID-19 warrior, Professor Akin Abayomi, Lagos has passed its peak but we call for vigilance and cautious optimism because the scourge is not over yet.

‘’Our strategic objective remains to test samples in high numbers across the entire nation,” the SGF said.

According to him, the briefing was packaged to underscore the level of transparency with which the resources deployed for the fight against COVID-19 had been used.

He announced launch of two PTF Transparency Initiative Dashboards which he described as a significant milestone because it puts valuable information at the disposal of every Nigerians.