By Abujah Racheal
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 says the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) will carry out 450 COVID-19 tests in each local government area of the country.
The PTF chairman, Mr Boss Mustapha, also Secretary to the Government of the Federation, made this known at the national briefing on COVID-19 on Monday in Abuja.
Mustapha said the exercise would start with the states that were in the forefront of resourcing and infrastructure.
According to him, the PTF has authorised the NCDC to immediately implement the 450 tests per local government plan nationwide.
Mustapha said: “We are aware that states are not on the same pedestal in the area of testing, and we shall begin with the states that are in the forefront of resourcing and infrastructure.”
On resumption of schools, Mustapha said that several states had complied with the resumption of schools.
He said: “PTF recommends strongly that very strict adherence to Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions should be enforced by the states to avoid the escalation of cases.
“The PTF will continue to dialogue with the Governors and the Federal Ministry of Education to closely monitor the situation.”
On Nigeria’s position on the global level in terms of spread of the virus, the chairman said: “In African continent, South Africa and Nigeria continue to report highest daily count, while South Africa, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Algeria and Kenya account for 76 per cent of all cases in the region.
“Nigeria has moved up to third position in highest cumulative case load, but remains second for new cases and fifth highest in cumulative deaths on the World Health Organisation (WHO) African region.
“From the foregoing, testing has proven to have become more significant in our national response.
“The PTF still urge the state governments to enable their Emergency Operations Centres (EOC) to step up on sample collection and to maximise the capacities of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Laboratories already established in their states.”
He assured Nigerians that the vaccines to be approved would be safe and good for Nigerians, noting: “the positive news about vaccines remains high in the ranking of discussions nationwide.
“Nigerians are assured that PTF will ensure that the vaccines to be approved will be safe and effective.
“We must, however, work together as foot soldiers in the vaccine advocacy so that we can eliminate the pandemic.
“The PTF wishes to emphasise that the success of our national response shall not depend on vaccines alone.
“Rather, compliance with the non-pharmaceutical protocols must remain top on our individual priorities,” Mustapha said.
The SGF also said that PTF was proceeding with the next phase of the approved presidential sanction against all in-bound international travellers that failed to undergo the day-seven post arrival test.
“The PTF will publish the next list of 100 defaulters very soon.
“Let me clarify, however, that there is a strong multi-sectoral approach to the activities, decisions and engagement of PTF with institutions of government and the public sector.
“Consequently, all steps being taking are outcomes of in-depth consultations and review before they are made public,” the PTF chairman said. (NAN)