By Omeiza Ajayi
Ahead of this year’s Yuletide, the Federal Government has cautioned Nigerians against “non-essential” trips, expressing concerns that such trips could least to further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF and Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce PTF on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha gave the charge Monday in Abuja during a briefing of the Taskforce.
He also said the 2020 National Sports Festival scheduled to hold in Benin, Edo state has now been shifted to next year to allow for proper safety protocol to be put in place.
Mustapha said; “The PTF is escalating its surveillance and testing drive to ensure that the spread of the virus is effectively contained even as we approach the festive season. We shall continue to remind Nigerians that all non-essential trips should be put off this December. This is for your safety and good health.
“Over the past weeks, discussions have been held about the safety issues pertaining to the National Sports Festival scheduled to hold in Benin, Edo State. New dates have been agreed upon early in 2021, before which, measures would be put in place to minimize infections. The HM Youth and Sports would have been here to brief the nation on the preparations but for other exigencies. He will be here with us in subsequent briefings.
“We are pleased to inform you that the first stream of NYSC has concluded camping while we expect the 2nd stream to go to camp on 3rd December and the third stream would be in January 2021. Necessary measures, building on the successes of the first stream, have been taken. The DG NCDC will brief you on this”.
The SGF noted that there has been a lot of positive developments around the world regarding vaccines, adding that before it becomes available, Nigerians have to continue to comply with the non-pharmaceutical interventions.
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“The PTF is already working on the strategy for gaining access to the Vaccine as soon as they are available”, he said.
Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control NCDC, Dr Chikwe Iheakwazu also cautioned against local and international travels, saying there is need to remain extra vigilant against the pandemic.
He said participants of the National Youth Service Corps NYSC scheme who tested positive in the stream A would now be absorbed into the Stream B, urging Corps members to be ambassadors in the right against COVID-19.
“We continue to respond to cases of yellow fever and Lassa. We are also on the lookout for meningitis as this is the period when there is usually an outbreak. So, we are not resting”, he added.
National Coordinator of the taskforce, Dr Sani Aliyu advised state governments to continue to test more people, saying on the Federal Capital Territory FCT has tested about two percent of its population.