Dr Sani Aliyu, the Coordinator, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, has said that positive cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) are gradually coming down as the daily results now revolves around 400.
He made this known at the daily briefing of the PTF on Monday in Abuja, warning, however, that the reduction was not in a way a win.
He said that all the non-pharmaceutical guidelines must be followed to achieve full success in the fight against COVID-19.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said “we have recorded 46,577 cases from 317,496 samples tested so far, while 33,186 persons have been treated and discharged.
“Sadly, we lost 945 persons to the COVID-19 infection, which has now been identified in 549 of our 774 local government areas, and half of all cases in Nigeria so far are concentrated in 20 local government areas.
“The figures show that Nigeria is also sadly approaching the symbolic 1,000 number of fatalities, a grim reality that should be a wake-up call for us.
“Many more Nigerians today personally knew a person who succumbed to COVID-19, and so I ask that we remind ourselves that COVID-19 is still with us and will be for a long time.”
He warned that “until there is vaccine, the only options we have to protect ourselves are the non-pharmaceutical measures, proven to be cheap and effective such as the appropriate use of face mask, physical distancing and avoiding crowds.”
On the way forward, the minister said “our focus is still to reduce fatality to less than one per cent, not only with preventive measures, but also with a strategy that encourages citizens to report early for treatment and for hospitals to attend to all patients in distress; most importantly, to be able to provide oxygen treatment.
“The main COVID-19 symptoms include breathlessness, which responds well to oxygen supplementation as first measure.
“We are turning our preferences, therefore, to gadgets that provide oxygen, like oxygen generators to be in many facilities, including general hospitals and larger Primary Healthcare Centres, while solar powered aggregates, where available, will be prioritised.”
He advised federal health institutions with oxygen plants to activate them as a matter of priority and ensure they could deliver to their Accident and Emergency Department.
“The other measure is the activation of ambulance service to move patients to treatment centres. This strategy worked well in Kano and all states should prepare to set up the system, as Federal Ministry of Health will provide guidance, support and training,” he added.
PTF also declared that five states account for 60 per cent of the confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.
Mr Boss Mustapha, the Chairman of the task force and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), made this known on Monday in Abuja during the daily briefing on the pandemic.
Mustapha explained that “689 out of 774 local government areas reported a case; 85 local government areas in 20 states still remain with no testing done and no case reported; and 50 per cent of all cases are in 20 per cent of local government areas.”
The SGF added that “Nigeria, with 46,577 confirmed cases and 945 cumulative deaths, remains respectively the third and fourth highest in these parameters.
“As we emphasised at the last briefing, Nigeria is yet to reach the peak of the pandemic, therefore, the low test/case confirmation numbers coming out daily should not be misinterpreted to mean that we have overcome.
“We have over time ramped up testing but more needs to be done to raise the quantum of test per million.”
On the new phase of the eased lockdown, Mustapha noted that “as we progress in this new phase of the eased lockdown, continuous monitoring of global and national science and data remain the basis for strengthening our efforts to contain the virus.
“Key sectors that the PTF will be watching in addition to general level of compliance are the education and transportation sectors. Schools are gradually reopening, with the commencement of preparations for critical examinations.
“Guidelines have already been issued by the Federal Ministry of Education to stakeholders.
“For the transportation sector, the PTF will continue to follow developments in railway and air transportation respectively. Nigerians and sector stakeholders are admonished to ensure compliance with the various non-pharmaceutical measures already in place.
“The PTF and the Federal Ministry of Aviation are working rapidly toward reopening international flights.”
He noted that the PTF would also be looking at the issue of Risk Communication and Community Engagement, as messaging and consultations shall be intensified to drive the level of awareness and compliance to the wider population using mediums and platforms that were most effective.