COVId-19: FG Raises Alarm over Rising Cases amongst Health Workers

*Mr. Boss Mustapha
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  • As CACOVID donates 100 oxygen cylinders per day in FCT till March
  • To habilitate five oxygen cylinder factories

The Federal Government has expressed concern over the rising cases of the Novel Coronavirus infections amongst health workers and has called for escalation of vigilance.

It has also described as alarming the share level of doubters amongst Nigerians and has called for caution.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, stated this at the first media briefing of the Taskforce for the year in Abuja.

He regretted that despite  appeals to all Nigerians to stay safe and act in most defensive and protective ways by complying with the Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs), many failed to do so during the holidays and the effect of that is already showing in the health sector.

Mustapha who noted that the country  recorded 1,204 infections on Monday, January 4th the highest since the national response started, said  “From our analysis, we are beginning to see the effect of activities carried out during the Christmas festivities. We can only hope that numbers will not escalate beyond control. We however, still appeal to all citizens to take full responsibility through compliance and vigilance.

“As at date, the statistics for Nigeria shows the following: Cumulative cases: 91,351; Cumulative Tests: 958,911; Deaths: 1,318; Week 53 recorded 57 deaths which is the highest for any single week since we started.

“There is also a rising rate of infections among health care workers and this calls for the escalation of surveillance. In Africa, Nigeria has joined South Africa in reporting the highest daily infection cases.

“As we have always maintained, testing is a key strategy under the national response. To this end we can report that there are about 100 laboratories across the country. These are 71 public labs; 22 private labs and 7 corporate labs. Collectively, they are to help improve testing in the country.”

The PTF chairman, regretted that there is still very low testing in a number of states. For clarity, the DG NCDC will elaborate on the spheres of responsibility in testing and the Federal Government has sufficiently supported the States to enable them support surveillance and IPC.

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“To overcome some of these challenges, the PTF will intensify the risk communication and community engagement to create awareness. The share level of doubts about the virus is alarming and I call on every one to become advocates in support of the National Response.

“In continuation of the NYSC engagement, the PTF has conducted the testing of batch B Corpers using RDTs. Out of the 35,419 in the Batch B, 731 tested positive compared to 108 recorded during the Batch A. It is on record that cases were recorded from Corps Members from every State of the Federation.

“In the last two weeks, a lot has been discussed on case management and in particular, the availability of oxygen to save lives. We are pleased to inform you that the private sector – CACOVID has commenced supporting our response with 100 oxygen cylinders per day till the end of March, 2021, for distribution to critical care centres in Abuja.

“Furthermore, approval has been given to rehabilitate five oxygen plants across various tertiary health institutions in Abuja. The President has also approved that at least one oxygen plant should be established in each state of the federation immediately.  The National Coordinator will elaborate on this during this briefing.”

Mustapha said the PTF is progressing on the issue of accessing vaccines for Nigerians.

He said: “What is currently confronting us is a critical phase of infections globally. We are constantly reviewing our strategy to emerging situations especially in risk communication, vaccine hesitancy, fake news/disinformation.

“Finally, I wish to confirm that the PTF has commenced the sanctions on passengers who defaulted on day-7 post arrival tests. Their passport numbers have been published and travel restriction imposed for a period of six months effective 1st January, 2021.

“Let me categorically state that the PTF has generated over 20,000 inbound passengers that have also defaulted. The publication will continue weekly till it is exhausted.

“Nigerians should be aware that every defaulter is a threat to public health which is unacceptable to us and represent a draw back to the National Response. We have a duty to advise our relations, friends, associates to comply with laid down rules. The DG (NCDC) and the National Coordinator will update you on this.”


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