school's resumption
Secretary General to the Federation/Chairman Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha.

…75 healthcare workers infected in one week

…FG warns airlines against imposing ‘new testing regime’ on passengers

…Cautions states on rising case fatalities

…Warns MDAs against forcing workers on GL12 to resume

…Ensure full enforcement of COVID-19 health protection regulations 2021, IGP orders AIGs, CPs

…PTF declares Kogi ‘high risk’ for COVID-19, warns against visiting state

By Omeiza Ajayi

The federal government has announced its readiness to take delivery of 16 million doses of vaccines later this month.

It also urged health care workers in the country to adhere to all infection prevention and control protocols, lamenting that 75 of them were infected with COVID-19 in the last one week. Government also warned airlines against imposing new testing regimes on passengers, promising to address the issue.

“The PTF has reviewed reports received on the new testing regime allegedly imposed by some airlines and the associated charges. This is considered inimical to the interest of Nigerians and will be addressed through appropriate channels”, Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce PTF on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha stated on Monday.

Mustapha, who spoke at the routine briefing of the PTF also appealed to state governments to be mindful of he rising wave of infections and associated case fatalities.

He said:  “The PTF strongly appeals to all sub-national entities to please remain conscious of the rising numbers and the associated fatalities. They are therefore required to establish appropriate structures and systems for the enforcement.

“The PTF will continue to collaborate with the Nigeria Governors Forum on the management of this public health emergency because every citizen resides within the jurisdiction of the states”.

The SGF also warned Permanent Secretaries and heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies MDAs against forcing workers on Grade Level 12 to resume work.

“At the last briefing, we informed you that the President has authorized the extension of all measures in place, including the limitation of the categories of workers allowed to come to the office to those above GL 12. The PTF has received reports that MDA are compelling their workers in the categories barred from the office, to report for work.

‘’For the avoidance of doubts, all employees from GL 12 and below shall continue to work from home and no Agency is allowed to vary this instruction.

“Permanent Secretaries and CEOs are to ensure strict compliance.  Last week we received two batches of 860 Nigerian deportees from Saudi Arabia. They were received in Abuja by our multi-sectoral teams and have all commenced the post-arrival quarantine phase during which they will be tested before they are processed further,” he said.

According to him, the processes for accessing and procuring vaccines for Nigerians has advanced, adding that government will continue to ensure that it will be safe and effective for Nigerians when procured.

“As you are aware, the whole world is pursuing the same commodity and we have to secure our source while at the same time preparing our infrastructure and capacity for administration”, he said.

16 million doses

Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib disclosed that Nigeria will soon take delivery of 16 million doses of vaccines.

“I am glad to inform you that preparations are underway for the COVID-19 vaccine introduction. The COVID-19 Technical Working Group which consists of experts from the PTF, the Federal Ministry of Health, the Nigerian Governors Forum, our NPHCDA staff and development partners have been working daily to monitor the level of preparedness towards the successful roll out of COVID-19 vaccines and subsequent implementation in Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Nigeria records 416 new cases of COVID-19 as FG directs restrictive opening of worship centres

“The federal government of Nigeria is engaging in several discussions including with the African Union Commission to access COVID-19 vaccine. The African Union Commission through the African Acquisition Taskteam has approved approximately 41 million doses of a combination of the Pfizer Astrazeneca and the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines to be delivered between March and April 2021.

“Furthermore, the COVAXX facility has informed us that they will be supplying Nigeria with approximately 16 million doses of the Astrazeneca vaccine this month. This will replace the earlier communicated 100, 000 doses of Pfizer/mRNA vaccine which we all agreed was grossly inadequate”, Shuaib disclosed.

75 health workers

Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Iheakwazu advised healthcare workers against complacency, disclosing that 75 of them contracted the virus this past week. He said:  “In the last one week, we had 75 healthcare workers infected in Nigeria. So, we are very worried about this. We can reduced this”.

The PTF added that it will continue to sanction all test defaulters, disclosing that the next batch of 100 defaulters would have their international passport numbers published while they would be barred from uisng such passports for the next six months.

On his part, Capt. Musa Nuhu of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority NCAA said:  “Airlines cannot determine for Nigeria who (facility) to approve or how these tests should be done. We are going to be having a discussion with these airlines and those countries. If they insist on having these additional tests being done, then the PTF has decided that their operations will be suspended into Nigeria until the time the PTF puts up a structure and determine how these tests can be done within four hours of departing the country”.

Dr Mukhtar Muhammad, National Incident Manager, Presidential Taskforce PTF on COVID-19, listed the 22 LGAs with high COVID-19 case load in Nigeria to include Nkanu West – Enugu State; Abuja Municipal – FCT; Gwagwalada – FCT; Gombe – Gombe; Chikun – Kaduna; Kaduna North – Kaduna; Kaduna South – Kaduna; and Nassarawa – Kano.

Others are Katsina – Katsina; Ilorin South – Kwara; Ilorin West – Kwara; Eti-Osa – Lagos; Ikeja – Lagos; Kosofe – Lagos; Lagos Mainland – Lagos; Keffi – Nasarawa; Lafia – Nasarawa; Ibadan North – Oyo; Jos North – Plateau; Jos South – Plateau; Port-Harcourt – Rivers; and Wamako – Sokoto.

PTF declares Kogi ‘high risk’ for COVID-19, warns against visiting state

Kogi State has been classified as “high risk” for COVID-19 because of its failure to acknowledge the existence of the disease, report tests or build isolation centres.

The presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19, which announced the classification on Monday, warned Nigerians to be ware of visiting the state. Mukhtar Muhammad, the national incident manager of the PTF, said at the media briefing that Kogi was not testing at all.

“We have states where data is not coming forth. If we don’t test, your data will not be analysed and if your data is not analysed, we won’t know the level of the pandemic in your state,” he said.

“Notable among the states that have not been reporting adequately include Yobe, Jigawa, Zamfara and Kebbi and, of course, Kogi that has not been reporting at all.

“States that are not testing are probably at much more higher risk than the states that are currently known as high burdened states.”

For Kogi, which is not conducting tests at all, Muhammad said it is at the “high risk”.

“A state that is not testing at all is an absolute high risk for Nigerians to go there because there is no testing facility and even if you fall sick, there is no isolation center and they don’t even acknowledge that the disease exists. So for that reason, we put that state at the top of high risk state,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered Assistant Inspectors General of Police in the seventeen zonal commands and Commissioners of Police in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, to carry out full enforcement of COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021 signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari last week.

He gave the order, following the directives by the President as contained in the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Health Protection Regulations 2021 which mandates the Nigeria Police Force and other agencies of government to ensure full enforcement of the Regulations in public places, including places of worship, workplace and schools, banks, public transport vehicles, hostels, boarding houses, detention centres, etc – and general restrictions on gatherings as well as the use of face mask.

While noting that the uncertainty and risks engendered by the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic had placed additional responsibilities on the general public, the IGP in a statement signed by Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, called on citizens to voluntarily comply with the provisions of the Regulations for the safety of all. He  cautioned officers enforcing the regulations to show tact, compassion and empathy with the citizens, reiterating that the officers must be firm and professional and at the same time remain polite, civil and respect the fundamental rights of the citizens.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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