Ramp Up COVID-19 Tests, Declare Results Appropriately, PTF Tells States

Akinola Ajibola  
Updated August 24, 2020
PTF Chairman, Boss Mustapha, addressing reporters at a briefing in Abuja on August 24, 2020.


The Nigerian Government has called on authorities in various states to appropriately declare the results of coronavirus (COVID-19) tests conducted as quickly as possible.

Mr Boss Mustapha made the call on Monday at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The PTF Chairman explained that the call was necessary to ensure early detection which he said would ultimately translate to treatment and levelling of the curve of the virus in the country.

He acknowledged that the nation’s sample collection was low and advised authorities in the states to ramp up their testing.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, noted that Nigeria now has 52,227 confirmed cases, with 1,002 deaths and 38,945 recoveries.

He added that the country has remained the fourth nation with highest cumulative cases in Africa, while the global cases have increased from 22.5 million to 23.5 million in about four days.

Despite crossing the 1,000 mark on Sunday, the PTF chairman insisted that the country has continued to record a steady decline in its Case Fatality Rate (CFR) over the last few months.

He stated that the death toll was ​3 per cent on April 30, 2.8 per cent on ​May 31, 2.3 per cent ​June 30, 2 per cent on ​July 31, and ​1.92 per cent as of August 22.

The SGF noted that the Commissioner for Health in Lagos State, Prof. Akin Abayomi, who he said has been foremost in the fight against COVID-19, had tested positive for the disease.

He wished the commissioner and all other frontline workers that have risked their lives but contracted the virus in the process, safe and speedy recovery.

According to Mustapha, this is a grim reminder that COVID-19 is no respecter of persons or the positions they hold and everyone is at risk and must take responsibility.


Read the full remarks by the PTF chairman at the briefing below:


​I welcome you all to the National Briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 for Monday, 24th August 2020.

2.​ Last week Thursday, we informed you that Nigeria had crossed the 50,000 mark of confirmed cases. Yesterday Sunday, 23rd August, we reached the unenviable record of 1,000 fatalities.

We wish to restate that these records are not just numbers as they vividly remind us of the dangers that we still face. May the souls of all those that have lost the battle against COVID-19 rest in peace.

3.​ The PTF has however continued to study the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) and we note that it has been on a steady decline over the last few months.

​April 30: 3%

​May 31: 2.8%

​June 30: 2.3%

​July 31: 2.0%

​Aug 22: 1.92%

We are, however, convinced that our sample collection is still low. We, therefore, encourage states to ramp up their testing and to declare correct results because early detection will ultimately translate to treatment and ultimately levelling of the curve.

4.​ With our statistics standing at CASES: 52,227, FATALITIES: 1,002, and RECOVERIES: 38,945, however, Nigeria maintains the 4th highest cumulative cases in the continent. Sadly, the global cases have increased by another one million from 22.5 million on 19th to the current 23.5 million in about 4 days.

  1. ​The PTF has already informed you about the plans to reopen the international airspace for flights in a manner that will promote safety, security and economic recovery. The National Coordinator will be updating you on the protocols during this briefing. We have been working with other sectors to develop appropriate protocols.

6.​ Prior to the reopening of the airspace, the PTF had put in place Point of Entry Protocols to minimise importation. Unfortunately, the validation process for the pre-boarding PCR test has shown that 64% of the recent spike in the number of confirmed cases in Lagos (404) on Saturday 22nd August came from the evacuees.

7.​ Over the weekend, 252 additional Nigerians were evacuated from the United Arab Emirates which has brought the total number of Nigerians that have returned home to 4,984. We shall intensify the validation process for the PCR tests to minimise risks.

  1. ​The WHO has provided guidance on the use of masks for children 11 years and above in the context of COVID-19 as it relates to the community. However, Children with immune-compromised conditions are advised to wear mask irrespective of age.

This guidance is strongly recommended for observance and the PTF shall update you as soon as it is revised by the WHO.

  1. ​This morning we received the unfortunate news of the positive status of Prof. Akin Abayomi, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health. This has saddened the PTF as the Commissioner has been foremost in the fight against COVID-19.

We wish him and all other frontline workers that have risked their lives but contracted the virus in the process, safe and speedy recovery.

  1. ​This unexpected news is a grim reminder that the virus is no respecter of persons or the positions they hold. Everyone is at risk and we must take responsibility.

What the announcement of Prof. Abayomi has shown is that stigmatisation has no place in our national response and that COVID-19 is not a death sentence. We, therefore, thank all those that have come out to announce their status and/or tell their stories and we urge Nigerians to take a queue to eliminate disbelief and scepticism.

  1. ​Let’s keep arming the unbreakable Nigerian spirit to win this war and drive the virus out of our land. Join the hashtag #MaskOnNaija National awareness campaign.
  2. ​I now call on the Honourable Minister of Health, DG, NCDC, and the National Coordinator to provide us with necessary updates.

13.​I thank you so much for your attention and have a good evening.