December 24, 2020

COVID-19: PTF warns against closing treatment centres, monitors new strain in UK, vaccines

PTF on COVID-19 Chairman, Boss Mustapha.

PTF on COVID-19 Chairman, Boss Mustapha.

Worried by the rising cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has cautioned state governors against closing down treatment centres.

Mr Boss Mustapha, the chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, issued the warning while speaking at the national briefing on Thursday in Abuja.

He said: “As we make progress on this non-pharmaceuticals Intervention (NPI), plus vaccines phase, I urge the State Government not to close down their treatment centres.

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“Rather they should keep them running efficiently and smoothly because the cases of infections are rising and we must intensify our efforts to support the public sector laboratories with critical reagents.

“The PTF expects the leadership of all Federal tertiary health institutions to raise their level of testing and turnaround for results.”
Mustapha further stated that “in 2021, it’s vaccines plus NPIs.

“As we commence the process of adding vaccines to the task, we wish to reaffirm that all aspects of the pronouncement of the President will be approached with the seriousness they deserve.

“New guidelines have been developed and will be unveiled by the National Coordinator. The task is huge but our will is stronger this time.

“Accordingly, the PTF is working with the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on regulatory and certification issues before we go further on the subject of vaccines.”

On the new strain of COVID-19 in the UK and South Africa, the SGF said: “​Similarly, the PTF is aware of the global conversation on the new strain of virus discovered in the UK.

“We had assured Nigerians that our experts working with the WHO are studying the variant strain and shall make a statement at the appropriate time.”

Speaking on the travel ban, he said “on international travel especially from the UK, South Africa and some very high burden areas, we continue to evaluate the actions taken by various countries.

“We note that some of the countries that initially banned flights have now adopted the requirement already in place in Nigeria.

“We have also weighed the security, economic and social implications of a full ban especially when we consider the situation in our neighboring countries and the ECOWAS as a whole.

“The PTF shall increase measures pertaining to those high burden countries to scale down the possibilities of importation.”

The PTF chairman also noted that “the PTF is working assiduously on the turn around time for receiving test results.

“We are working with the NCDC to improve on this. Nigerians should expect improvement very soon.

“For us on the PTF, we thank Mr President for the confidence he has in our ability to deliver on the mandate and we rededicate ourselves to more work.

“The successes recorded by the PTF in managing the control of the pandemic since March 2020 could never have been possible without the support of our partners, being the media that took the message to Nigerians.

“We also thank the National Assembly, the Sub-National entities, the private sector coalition, the international community, development partners, well-meaning Nigerians, security agencies and our frontline workers. The list is endless.”

Vanguard News Nigeria