By Omeiza Ajayi & Gabriel Olawale
The Federal Government, yesterday, urged Nigerians to ensure strict compliance with COVID-19 safety protocol, following the spread of Delta variant of the virus across states of Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Oyo, Rivers, Plateau and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
Speaking at a media briefing, Chairman of Presidential Steering, PSC, Committee on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, expressed concern over the rising cases in recent times, noting that the country’s test positivity ratio had also increased to about six per cent.
He said the PSC had been meeting to deliberate on the rising number of COVID-19 cases and proffer ways to prevent the spread of infections.
“The world has added about four million cases and under 100,000 deaths in the last one week. All countries in West African are beginning to see the third wave, while Nigeria is recording about 500 cases daily in the last seven days.
“Our test positivity ratio has increased to about six per cent. This is worrisome and shows that we are not out of the woods yet. It is no more news that the Delta variant has made its way into Nigeria.
‘’The PSC is particularly concerned about the situation in Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Oyo, Rivers, FCT and Plateau states as this variant has made way into these states and accounts for the rising cases in these states and across the nation. Lagos alone accounts for over 50 percent of the number of cases. This development calls for great caution because the virus is very virulent and raging in so many other countries.
‘’We must, therefore, keep observing the NPIs and also ensure that we get vaccinated. Vaccination prevents severe cases and reduces hospitalisation and deaths, but does not eliminate contacting it, hence the need to religiously observe the NPIs.
“We need to test more and detect early enough, so that people who have contacted this virus can be treated early.”
He said details of 500 travellers, who violated the travel protocol would soon be made public.
Akanu Ibiam Int’l Airport ready for reopening
Mustapha also announced that Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, was ready for reopening, adding that a date will be announced in due course after few logistics issues had been cleared.
Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Dr Chikwe Iheakwazu, on his part, warned of a possible explosion in positive cases, urging Nigerians to continue to follow all preventive protocols.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, who reeled out the new measures, said: “Everybody has to do a PCR test before travelling 72 hours from restrictive countries. But for countries where we have not placed restrictions, diplomats coming from those countries just have to have that 72 hours PCR test and then within seven days do a test in any accredited laboratory.”
‘’If they have no valid PCR test, then they would have to be quarantined in a government facility but if they have the PCR test, they will still have to embark on a seven day self-isolation.
“If they do test positive and it is mild, they can isolate at home and if it is moderate to severe, then they have to be in accredited hospital facility.
“For those diplomats coming from non-destructive countries, they can get special waivers from the seven day isolation and this will be available to high profile diplomats who might be coming to meet the president or the vice president.’’