By Abujah Racheal
The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, has told State Governments to factor the guidelines on the prevention of the disease into their responses in tackling the virus.
Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) gave the directive at the daily briefing of the PTF on COVID-19 on Tuesday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that June 2 marks the commencement of phase two of the easing of the lockdown as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mustapha said that as the PTF focused on community engagement and risk communication, State Governments were now expected to be responsible for shaping and driving COVID-19 prevention processes.
He noted, however, that every individual had a stake and a role to play.
“We must take responsibility. We must be accountable to self and community on our actions. We must adhere to the guidelines issued.
“Shortly after the briefing of 1st June, 2020, the social media was trending with the photograph of two children wearing discarded PPE (although it is not certain if the photograph was taken in Nigeria).
“Significantly, that photograph represents a dangerous development. It underscores the need for more risk communication, community engagement and diligence in the disposal of used PPE on the part of our frontline workers and administrators.
“It also underscores the need to broaden the theme and messages in our communication strategy. Above all, the photograph has left us to imagine what the impact will be if schools are to be re-opened and they attend school after being exposed so dangerously.
“Those three children represent a clear danger to themselves, family and the immediate community,” Mustapha stated.
He called on health authorities to make sure that waste disposal was done in such a way that would not create opportunities for increasing the chances of spreading the virus.
The SGF urged citizens to religiously implement applicable guidelines at specific phases of the battle, saying that the PTF would continue to monitor progress being made to eradicate the disease.
“I, therefore, urge all sub-national entities with which we have been collaborating to expeditiously factor the guidelines into their decisions and resultant protocols that will be agreed to.
“I further urge them to strengthen their enforcement and monitoring mechanisms so as to ensure that the desired results are achieved.
“The PTF is conscious of the fact that there is a high possibility of members of the public seeing the easing as a signal that COVID-19 is gone. On the contrary, COVID-19 is still virulent, dangerous and infectious.
“Our lives have changed for good and will never revert to what we used to know.
“That is why we have urged all employers, employees and leaders of sectors allowed to re-open to diligently comply with non-pharmaceutical measures prescribed in the guidelines and the protocols agreed by State Governments.
“We must all overcome this challenge together. You must take responsibility,” Mustapha said. (NAN)