The Presidential Working Group (PTF) for COVID-19 has appealed to the authorities in various states not to close facilities built to treat people infected with COVID-19.
The chairman of the PTF and the secretary of the Federation Government (SGF), Chief Mustapha, spoke out on Thursday, presenting reports in Abuja, the state capital.
Instead, he wants them to keep the centers running efficiently and smoothly as the country begins to witness a second wave of viruses.
Mustapha explained that it is necessary for the authorities to intensify efforts to support public sector laboratories with critical reagents.
According to him, PTF expects that the management of all federal tertiary health institutions will raise the level of testing and turn the results around.
The SGF noted that the PTF had issued a series of advices to state governments on ways to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the country, in accordance with the authority of the President.
He revealed that as a follow-up to the PTF, he met with a select team of governors on the platform of the National Economic Council (NEC) and, in addition, the Forum of Governors of Nigeria (NGF).
The PTF chairman said the working group was aware of the global discussion on the new strain of COVID-19 discovered in the UK.
He said government health experts are working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to study the strain variant and will make a statement in due course.
Mustapha gave confidence that the PTF would increase measures targeting countries with a heavy burden to reduce the possibility of importing the disease.
He asked Nigerians to expect an improvement in turnaround time very soon to get the COVID-19 test results.
SGF NOTES AT PTF NATIONAL BRIEFING AT COVID-19 ON THURSDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2020
I greet you all at the National Briefing of the Presidential Working Group on COVID-19 (PTF) for Thursday, December 24, 2020.
PTF wishes all Nigerians a safe, COVID-free Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
As the President advised in his address to the PTF on Tuesday, December 22, 2020, please postpone all irrelevant travel during that period and avoid large gatherings.
You will remember that, in accordance with the authority of the President, a number of pieces of advice have been issued to states on ways to combat the spread of the virus in Nigeria.
As a continuation of this development, the PTF met with a selected team of governors on the platform of the National Economic Council and, in addition, the Forum of Governors of Nigeria.
The meeting was robust, and the governors shared their experiences on the implementation of these measures and pledged to continue them.
In his speech, the President made several statements, including:
Further extension of PTF’s mandate until March 2020;
Authority to ensure the sanctioning of violators of road protocols;
Comprehensive health sector reform plan; i
The government’s determination to continue the vaccine issue in a safe, effective and cost-effective way.
For us at PTF, we thank the President for the trust he has in our ability to carry out his mandate and we are once again committed to greater work.
The successes that PTF has recorded in managing pandemic control since March 2020 could never have been without the support of our partners who were the media that conveyed the message to Nigerians.
We also thank the National Assembly, sub-national entities, the private sector coalition, the international community, development partners, well-meaning Nigerians, security agencies and our workers at the front. The list is endless.
As we begin the process of adding vaccines to the task, we want to reaffirm that all aspects of the President’s statement will be approached with the seriousness it deserves.
New guidelines have been developed and will be presented by the national coordinator. The task is huge, but our will is stronger this time.
Accordingly, PTF is working with relevant MDAs on regulatory and certification issues before we move on, on the topic of vaccines.
In 2021, vaccines and NPIs. As we progress in this phase of NPI + vaccines, I urge state governments not to close their treatment centers.
Instead, they should be maintained efficiently and smoothly as infection cases grow and we must intensify efforts to support public sector laboratories with critical reagents, and PTF expects the leadership of all federal tertiary health care institutions to raise the level of testing and reversal results. DG NCDC will explain this in more detail during this briefing.
Similarly, PTF is aware of the global conversation about a new strain of the virus discovered in the UK.
We have convinced Nigerians that our experts working with the WHO are studying the variant strain and will make a statement at the appropriate time. The WHO representative will explain this in more detail.
On international travel, especially from the UK, South Africa and some areas with a very heavy workload, we continue to assess the actions taken by various countries.
We note that some countries that initially banned flights have adopted a requirement that already existed in Nigeria.
We also weighed the security, economic and social implications of a full ban, especially when we consider the situation in neighboring countries and ECOWAS as a whole.
The PTF will increase measures targeting those countries with a heavy burden to reduce import opportunities. The national coordinator will explain this in more detail.
PTF works diligently on processing time to obtain test results. We are working with the NCDC to improve this. Nigerians should expect improvement very soon.
I now call the Honorable Judge. State Minister of Health, DG NCDC and National Coordinator to keep you informed of technical developments.
Thank you for listening and I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Remember, COVID-19 will not go on vacation. Be sure, always.