The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the COVID-19 pandemic has warned of the possibility of a second wave of infection in the country given what is currently going on in other countries in Europe and the United States.
The Chairman of the task force and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, who made the assertion at Monday’s briefing in Abuja, said Nigerians should anticipate and prepare for it.
He stressed the need to adhere strictly to the prescribed protocols to stave off the disease.
Mustapha said: “The PTF is glad that the economy is opening up the more, but warns that as we continue to study developments in Europe and other parts of the world, no nation can be said to be immune to a possible second wave if the guidelines and protocols are not adhered to strictly. Nigerians need to anticipate this and prepare. Our hope and prayers are that it shall never happen.
“For our proper information and guidance, the picture from around the world can be summarised as follows. Over the last few days, global cases crossed the 37 million mark. In the UK, cases have been on the increase, and the 5th highest number of daily cases were recorded on Sunday 11th (12,872). Similarly, Brazil’s caseload has also continued to increase with the registration of a daily caseload of over 65,000 on the 11th of October.
“On the African continent, 8,987 cases were reported from 34 countries in the last 24 hours leading to a cumulative total case count of 1,587,276 including 38,167 deaths (CFR stands at 2.4%).
“Nigeria maintains the 5th position (60,266) in the highest cumulative cases after South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, and Ethiopia.”
The SGF also announced that the PTF will this week release new measures in the eased lockdown following the recommendations that will be made to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Before this week runs out, the PTF shall unveil to Nigerians the next steps regarding the remaining phase of the eased lockdown. As you were informed last week, findings and recommendations have been compiled and would be presented to Mr President in the 8th Interim Report, shortly,” he said.
On the reopening of schools, Mustapha was of the opinion that the debate about the safe reopening of schools has dominated the space of conversation by concerned citizens and parents.
He said: “We wish to reiterate that federating units have the responsibility for determining the dates and modalities for the safe reopening while the Federal Government provides the guidelines.
Also speaking on international travels, the SGF remarked: “The PTF and relevant MDAs have made appreciable progress in the discussions with the European Union overflight restrictions and entry of Nigerian nationals and holders of long-term Schengen visas into the territory. We hope to make a very favourable announcement on this, very soon.”
He reminded Nigerians the need to continue to take responsibility on the curtailing the virus and to remain vigilant and careful.
In his remark, PTF National Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu, hinted that there will soon be discontinuation of paperwork concerning COVID-19 PCR test result at the airports to reduce congestion.
He said: “In the coming week, we will be notifying airline passengers that do not have a QR Code whether temporary or permanent QR Code, passengers will not be allowed to board the airlines.
“We are going to stop the use of paper at the airport because this is one of the reasons causing congestion and Nigeria is not different from other countries.
“If you are going to other countries, you upload your health questionnaire online and you do whatever you need to do online and submit. We should be no different, we should be joining the 21st century.
“We are increasingly confident that the portal is working well, you do not need to pay in order to generate a QR Code but the earlier passengers get used to the portal the better because it will make it easier to manage passengers especially now that we are opening and increasing the number of passengers we are allowing into the country.
“We have already increased that of Lagos to 2,500 a day while that of Abuja is 1,600 a day. Just over 4,000 passengers every day. So, we can’t handle paper with this sort of level of passengers coming in.