PTF Transitions To Steering Committee, To Function Until December

A file photo of the SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, addressing reporters at the PTF briefing in Abuja.

 

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 will now operate as the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19.

President Muhammadu Buhari gave the approval for the transitioning of the PTF to PSC with effect from April 1 and would function up till December 31, 2021, Mr Boss Mustapha revealed at a press briefing on Tuesday in Abuja.

Mustapha, who is the PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), explained that the PSC would operate with a modified mandate to reflect the non-emergent status of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the current phase of the national response closes, he warned that a critical and challenging phase might be looming, considering the ongoing developments around the world.

The SGF also announced that Nigeria has taken delivery of additional 100,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from the government of India.

According to him, this donation of the latest batch of vaccine doses would boost the number of Nigerians to be vaccinated by about 50,000.

READ ALSO: Buhari Extends PTF Mandate Till March 2021

The approval for the transitioning of the PTF to PSC follows the expiration of the extension of the mandate of the task force by the President.

The President had received the end-of-year report of the PTF on December 22, 2020, after which he extended its mandate until the end of March 2021, bearing in mind the new surge in the number of cases and the bid for vaccines at the time.

He had directed the task force to coordinate the process for planning and the strategy for accessing, delivery, and the administration of vaccines using the existing health structures that have worked in the past in vaccine administration in the country.

President Buhari had also asked the PTF to engage with authorities in various states to assume full ownership of that stage of the response by deploying legal structures and resources, including enforcement to manage the pandemic within their jurisdictions.

The task force was equally authorised, along with the Nigeria Immigration Service, to ensure that all in-bound passengers who failed to show up for the post-arrival COVID-19 test were sanctioned within the ambit of the law, for breaching the public health protocols.

UPDATED: SGF, Health Minister, Other PTF Members Receive COVID-19 Vaccines

The PTF Chairman, Mr Boss Mustapha, takes his first jab of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Abuja on March 8, 2021.

 

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, and other members of the PTF have received the AstraZeneca vaccines.

They took the first jabs of the vaccine on Monday at the briefing of the task force held in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), was the first to take the vaccine.

Thereafter, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, also took his first jab of the vaccine and was followed by other members of the task force.

They include the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama; and the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu.

The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, as well as the Country Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Walter Mulombo, were also among those who received the vaccine.

Before the officials took turns to receive the vaccine, the PTF chairman briefed reporters on the latest development since the commencement of the vaccination exercise.

According to him, the government has been engaging with the authorities of KLM and the Emirates airlines over pre-departure testing requirements that passengers must meet before travelling from Nigeria.

Mustapha mandated the Ministry of Aviation and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to take necessary reciprocal measures, as may be permissible under the laws and other international obligations which they were expected to discharge.

Giving an update on the vaccination exercise, Shuaib stated that the vaccines administered since the flag-off were the same as the ones taken by the President and the Vice President.

He disclosed that the movement of vaccines to various states commenced on Monday and an accountability mechanism had been put in place to ensure equitable distribution of the vaccines in the states.

The NPHCDA boss added that the government would convene town halls in the next few weeks in a bid to counter stories causing hesitancy among the people.

COVID-19: Nigeria To Receive Four Million Doses Of AstraZeneca Vaccine Very Soon – FG

File photo of the SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, addressing reporters at the PTF briefing in Abuja.

 

The Federal Government has said that Nigeria would receive four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine very soon.

The chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha disclosed this on Monday during a press briefing in Abuja.

He said the “PTF has been assured that Nigeria shall receive the initial four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines very soon and Nigerians will be adequately informed on developments.”

According to him, “multi-sectoral machinery will be deployed to enhance the logistics to the “last-mile administration” processes that have been put in place.”

Mustapha also called for the cooperation and support of all Nigerians, noting that “this will involve community mobilization, training, transportation, storage, operations, etc.”

READ ALSO: Taraba Resident Doctors Suspend Strike, Lose Member To COVID-19

The real work involves every sub-national entity, the Communities, the citizens, and the Civil Societies. We crave your cooperation and support to achieve this. The Honorable Minister of Health and the Executive Director (NPHCDA) will elaborate on this during this briefing.

While reassuring the citizens that no stone will be left unturned in the effort to access “safe and efficacious vaccines,” the PTF Chairman pleaded for patience and vigilance, pleading on the masses not to procure uncertified vaccines from the black market.

READ FULL SPEECH HERE:

REMARKS BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON COVID-19 FOR MONDAY, 22nd FEBRUARY, 2021

​I welcome you to the National Briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) for today, Monday, 22nd February 2021.

2.​The issue of vaccines continues to dominate discussions and major policy and financial decisions by various countries of the world. As you are aware, NAFDAC in the course of the week granted emergency use authorization for the use of AstraZeneca vaccines in Nigeria. This decision was reached after due process by the regulatory body.

3.​Despite this milestone approval, which will obviously be a game-changer, the PTF wishes to underscore the need to continue to take responsibility by observing all the non-pharmaceutical measures. Vaccines remain critical in the battle but we must remain well informed because of the intense transmission which is putting enormous pressure on the hospitals, intensive care units, and health workers in our different communities. Let me state that decisions made by leaders and citizens will determine the level of our success in tackling the acute phase.

4.​The PTF has been assured that Nigeria shall receive the initial four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines very soon and Nigerians will be adequately informed on developments. The multisectoral machinery will be deployed to enhance the logistics to the “last-mile administration” processes that have been put in place.  This will involve community mobilization, training, transportation, storage, operations, etc. The real work involves every sub-national entity, the Communities, the citizens, and the Civil Societies. We crave your cooperation and support to achieve this. The Honorable Minister of Health and the Executive Director (NPHCDA) will elaborate on this during this briefing.

5.​The PTF wishes to reassure Nigerians that no stone will be left unturned in the effort to access safe and efficacious vaccines. We, therefore, plead for patience and vigilance. We also plead with Nigerians not to procure uncertified vaccines from the black market.

  1. ​There have been preliminary results from the COVID-19 Seroprevalence Household Survey, which is on-going. It is to measure the seroprevalence of antibodies to COVID-19 in the population of selected states (Lagos, Enugu, Gombe and Nasarawa) by sex and age group based on fraction of asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic or subclinical infections. The survey was carried out by WHO protocol on SARS-COV-2 sero epidemiology and the outcome is quite encouraging. The DG NCDC will elaborate on this.

7.​In terms of numbers, statistics show that global cases and deaths have continued to decline. Most countries have registered significant declines in cases but amongst the top 5, the decline in Brazil is still minimal. The African Region has shown high decline and South Africa continues to record a sustained daily decline in cases. The WHO Country Rep will elaborate on this.

8.​As at 21st February, 2021, Nigerian statistics show the following:

Cases: ​​152,074

Fatalities:​​1,839

Recoveries:​​128,668

Active Cases:​21,567

No. of Tests:​1,489,103

9.​At the last briefing we informed you on the emerging issues on international travels involving the Emirates and the KLM airlines. Discussions are still ongoing through the Foreign Affairs and Aviation Ministries. Once again, we wish to assure Nigerians that our conclusions shall be in the interest of Nigerians. The Hon. Minister of Aviation will update you during this briefing.

  1. ​I now invite the HM-Health, DG-NCDC and the National Incident Manager to brief you.

11.​I thank you for listening.

 

COVID-19: FG Places Fresh Travel Restrictions On 100 Passengers For Flouting Directives

PTF Chairman, Mr Boss Mustapha, announces new COVID-19 measures at a briefing in Abuja on December 21, 2020.

 

The Federal Government has placed fresh travel restrictions on 100 passengers for flouting its directives on COVID-19.

In a series of tweet on Tuesday, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 released the passport details of the defaulters, announcing they have been restricted from travelling for six months.

“Presidential Task Force (PTF) sanctions 100 Passports in Second Batch of those who failed to comply with the mandatory Day 7 post-arrival COVID-19 Test. PENALTY: 6-month travel restriction from Feb 5 to July 30, 2021,” the tweet read.

“The Federal Government is placing travel restrictions on the following passports due to non-compliance with the mandatory Day and post-arrival COVID-19 test,” it added while listing the defaulters.

 

Channels Television had in January reported how the Federal Government placed travel restrictions on 100 travellers for failing to undergo the compulsory COVID-19 test after returning into the country.

READ ALSO: Nigerians Threaten Fresh Protests Over Reopening Of Lekki Tollgate

While noting that the travellers had been notified and barred from travelling out of the country during the period, the Federal Government said the restrictions would start from January 1 and last till June 30, 2021.

 

NYSC Officer Died At Isolation Center Not In Camp – DG

A photo collage of NYSC DG and NYSC members at a camp.

 

The Director-General of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brigadier General, Shuaibu Ibrahim, has reacted to claims that a top officer who was posted to the permanent orientation camp in Kano State died of COVID-19 in camp.

Ibrahim in an interview with Channels Television on Wednesday explained that the officer was tested before he entered the camp and was taken to the isolation center after he tested positive and eventually died in isolation.

“It is not true that the officer died in the camp, in line with the PTF and NYSC guidelines all prospective corps members and camp officials that are invited for the orientation exercise were tested. It is mandatory that all must be tested. It is only those that are negative that are allowed into the camp.

“Those that are positive are taken away by the NCDC and state officials for treatment and that was what happened. The officer concerned just like any other NYSC officials underwent the test and when he was positive he was taken by the NCDC to Kano State isolation center and that was where, unfortunately, he passed on, not in the camp,” the DG explained.

The NYSC boss stressed that there are not NYSC members that are positive inside the camp as they were all tested before entry into the orientation camps.

According to him, NYSC orientation camps across the country are supervised by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

“I have always cleared the air that it is only those that are negative that are allowed into the camp. Those that are positive are taken away by NCDC.

“We were the first agency to give NCDC our modalities for camp re-opening and they looked at it critically along with the PTF and the approval was granted.

“Even I was tested along with my officials. None of our officers died in the camp,” the NYSC DG said.

No fewer than 34,685 people were recently tested for COVID-19 across all the NYSC camps in the country.

 

The Federal Government last week threatened to shut down any NYSC orientation camp that violates the COVID-19 protocol.

The Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare gave the warning at the media briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, held in Abuja.

The Minister said the lives and health of the corps members are a priority to the government and the affected camps will be shut and the corp members will be reposted to nearby states to continue the orientation exercise.

 

 – Camp Testing –

No fewer than 34,685 people were recently tested for COVID-19 across all the NYSC camps in the country.

The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, disclosed this in November at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja.

He told reporters that those whose samples were collected included corps members and NYSC officials in various camps.

 

 

Enforcement Agencies Briefed To Enforce COVID-19 Regulations Within Limits – Boss Mustapha

Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, gives a press briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic in Abuja on April 29, 2020.

 

All law enforcement agencies have been briefed to ensure that they enforce COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations within the ambit of the law. 

Boss Mustapha the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, disclosed this at a briefing in Abuja on Monday.

Mr Mustapha who doubles as the Secretary-General of the Federation (SGF), drew the attention of all Nigerians to the fact that sanctions and punishments (including jail terms and fines) have been prescribed for violators of the provisions under the regulations.

He however noted that “all Law enforcement Agencies have been fully briefed and instructed to enforce the law within the appropriate limits”.

The SGF further reminded all Nigerians that enforcement of the new regulation will be taken seriously and urged all to fully comply.

Below is the full statement by the PTF chairman at the briefing on Monday.

READ ALSO: Ensure Full Enforcement Of COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations, IGP Orders Officers

REMARKS BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON COVID-19 FOR MONDAY, 1ST FEBRUARY, 2021

I welcome you to the National Briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) for today, Monday 1st February, 2021.

2. On 30th January, 2020 the WHO declared that the new coronavirus outbreak constituted a public health emergency of international concern, thus triggering the highest level of concern possible. One year down the line the world has seen over 100 million infections and over two million deaths. As at the same date the situation in Nigeria stood at 130,557 infections with 1,578 fatalities. The Hon Minister of Health and the DG NCDC will elaborate on recent numbers and situation.

3. Since the month of November 2020, the PTF has regularly advised Nigerians about the dangers of non-compliance with protocols put in place to guide our conduct under the eased lockdown phases. We also issued advisories to sub-national entities to ensure strict enforcement of protocols especially as they relate to wearing of masks in public places, large gathering, personal hygiene, reopening of schools, testing etc. All these actions were necessary even as we watched the rising daily number of cases directly attributable to activities of previous weeks. We have also listened to voices of reason that called for enforcement of the measures.

4. After considering the virulent nature of the second wave of infections, the dangers associated with the new strain of the virus particularly B117, and the urgent need to protect the health and wellbeing of Nigerians in the face of the widespread and rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria,His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria signed the CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (COVID-19) HEALTH PROTECTION REGULATIONS 2021 in exercise of the powers conferred upon him by Section 4 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010 and all other powers enabling him in that behalf.

5. The new Regulations which has been given wide publicity covers the following parts:

Part 1: Restrictions on Gatherings

PART 2: Operations of Public Places

PART.3: Mandatory Compliance with Treatment Protocols

PART.4: Offences and Penalties

PART.5: Enforcement and Application

PART 6: Interpretation and Citation

6. Essentially, the following restrictions have been restored and backed by law:
Social distancing of at least two metres shall be maintained at all times between persons.

Gathering of more than 50 persons shall not hold in an enclosed except for religious purposes in which case the gathering shall not exceed 50% capacity of the space;

Operations of Public Places such as Markets (including open markets), Malls, Supermarkets, Shops, Restaurants, Hotels, Event Centres, Gardens, Leisure Parks, Recreation Centres, Motor Parks, Fitness Centres, etc. shall be guided by the observation of the following:

Wearing a face covering that covers the nose and mouth;

Facilities are provided for the washing of hands or application of hand sanitiser approved by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC); and

Facilities for checking body temperature are provided and any person found to have a body temperature above 38 degrees Celsius shall be denied entry and advised to immediately seek medical attention.

7. The Regulations also places some responsibilities on the operators and occupiers of premises for the enforcement of these laws. They are required to
Make provision for safe hygiene facilities;

Enforce provision of temperature checks prior to entry into the establishment;
Enforce provisions and use of face-covering within the establishment;
Ensure that their customers queue up and are attended to serially while complying with physical distancing measures and avoiding overcrowding; and
Generally, ensure compliance with the provisions of these Regulations.

8. The PTF strongly appeals to all sub-national entities to please remain conscious of the rising numbers and the associated fatalities. They are therefore required to establish appropriate structures and systems for the enforcement. The PTF will continue to collaborate with the Nigeria Governors Forum on the management of this public health emergency because every citizen resides within the jurisdiction of the states.

9. The PTF also wishes to draw the attention of all Nigerians to the fact that sanctions and punishments (including jail terms and fines) have been prescribed for violators of the provisions under the Regulations. All Law enforcement Agencies have been fully briefed and instructed to enforce the law within the appropriate limits.

10. The processes for accessing and procuring vaccines for Nigerians has advanced and we continue to ensure that it will be safe and effective for Nigerians when eventually we procure it. As you are aware, the whole world is pursuing the same commodity and we have to secure our source while at the same time preparing our infrastructure and capacity for administration. The Executive Director (NPHCDA) will update you accordingly.

11. Closely associated with this, the PTF met with leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on sensitization preparatory to the Vaccine Rollout today, 1st February, 2021. The meeting was robust and positive. You will recall that the PTF had previously met with the National Council of Traditional Rulers (NCTR), the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (SCIA) and National Traditional Leaders Committee (NTLC) on Primary Health Care. We shall intensify close consultation with major stake holders and other faith based organisations to increase awareness among Nigerians.

12. At the last briefing, we informed you that the President has authorized the extension of all measures in place, including the limitation of the categories of workers allowed to come to the office to those above GL 12. The PTF has received reports that MDA are compelling their workers in the categories barred from the office, to report for work. For the avoidance of doubts, all employees from GL 12 and below shall continue to work from home and no Agency is allowed to vary this instruction. Permanent Secretaries and CEOs are to ensure strict compliance.

13. Last week we received two batches of 860 Nigerian deportees from Saudi Arabia. They were received in Abuja by our multi-sectoral teams and have all commenced the post-arrival quarantine phase during which they will be tested before they are processed further.

14. The PTF has reviewed reports received on the new testing regime allegedly imposed by some airlines and the associated charges. This is considered inimical to the interest of Nigerians and will be addressed through appropriate channels. The HM Aviation will brief you on the current situation during this session.

15. In our effort to continue to balance lives and livelihood, I wish to state that the PTF is fully conscious of the pains and concerns of businesses in the aviation and related sectors, especially around international airports that are yet to reopen (kano, Port Harcourt & Enugu). We feel your pains and share your fears. The evaluation of the COVID-19 developments is progressing and we are also expediting action on the arrival of vaccines so that we shall further relax the restriction and reopen our vital facilities.

16. Before I invite the HM-Health, DG-NCDC and the National Incident Manager to update you, I wish to remind all Nigerians that enforcement of the new regulation will be taken seriously and urge full compliance. In the final analysis, let us remember that it is for the good of the individual and his/her loved ones. I also urge the media to please go the extra mile to educate Nigerians and the report levels of compliance.

17. I now invite the HM-Health, DG-NCDC and the National Incident Manager to brief you.

18. I thank you for listening.

COVID-19: We Hope To Have Vaccines Before End Of First Quarter – Dr Muhammad

 

The Federal Government says it is doing all it can to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Nigeria before the end of the first quarter.

This was disclosed by Dr. Mukhtar Muhammad, the National Incident Manager of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

Dr. Muhammad who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily stated that the govt is doing its best to get enough vaccines.

He further stated that the government is looking at making sure that at least 70 to 80 percent of Nigerians get vaccinated.

Speaking on the possibility of a lockdown, Dr. Muhammad said the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 is considering targeted lockdown in some key states including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and Lagos State.

The PTF Incident Manager said the government is troubled by the level of compliance to COVID-19 regulations across the country.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Secures Additional 41 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses

According to him, data available shows that urban areas have the highest cases of COVID within the frame of the pandemic’s second wave in Nigeria.

He noted that while the Federal Government wants economic activities to continue, these activities must hold under the guidelines as stipulated by the PTF.

Dr Muhammad also revealed that the authorities are analyzing the data and the government has been looking at the geographical areas that have been most affected and the different age groups.

“Certainly, even if we are going to have a lockdown, it is not going to be a total lockdown. A couple of weeks back, we analysed the data and we identified the hotspot local government areas.

“Mostly, the areas affected are the urban local governments in Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, Plateau. Even in most other states, it is the urban areas that are involved. So, if we are going to have any restrictions, it will be in these areas.

“The urban areas are the most affected and that is why we have these superspreaders and that is where we are going to target. We have analysed that and we are advising the states based on the data that these are the focused areas where these transmissions are more than the others,” Dr. Muhammad stated.

How Increased Travels, Religious Activities, Others Triggered Hike In COVID-19 Cases – PTF

A file photo of the SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, addressing reporters at the PTF briefing in Abuja.

 

​The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has highlighted the factors that led to the increased figures of coronavirus recorded in the country since November 2020.

Addressing reporters on Monday in Abuja, the PTF Chairman, Boss Mustapha, revealed that increased local and international travels were among the major factors.

He listed the others to include increased business and religious activities, reopening of schools without strict compliance with COIVID-19 safety measures.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), faulted the attitude of some state authorities to the management of the disease.

According to him, no state in Nigeria is immune to the pandemic even if reports are not coming out of such states.

The PTF chairman urged the people to stay away from activities that can expose them to the virus as the nation’s tally crossed 100,000.

He announced that the government has concluded plans to roll out the pilot exercise on the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test-Kits (RDTs) ​next week in five tertiary health institutions in Abuja.

Read the full text of the SGF at the briefing below:

REMARKS BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON COVID-19 FOR MONDAY, 11TH JANUARY 2021

​I welcome you all to the National Briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 for today, Monday, 11th January 2021.

​Reports coming in from all over the world show that the COVID-19 pandemic is still wreaking huge havoc on humanity, economies, and systems.

The Situation Report as of Sunday, 10th January point in the following direction:

On 8th January 2021: 833,496 cases were recorded. This represented the highest ever since the pandemic started

The three days preceding the 8th, each recorded over 700,000 cases

Global cases have now reached the 90,676,320 mark

Global fatality count is fast approaching the two million mark

The global CFR has declined from 2.2 to 2.1%

The CFR for Africa has also declined from 2.3 to 2.2%; and

The WHO African region crossed the two million case mark on Wednesday, 6th January 2020.

​In Nigeria, we have crossed the 100,000 cases mark and now rank second in the number of new cases, the 4th in cumulative cases in Africa, and 5th in cumulative deaths.

Last week, Nigeria recorded over 9,000 cases. Realistically, if we estimate the numbers missed, we would be in a much higher region.

There is no state in Nigeria that is immune to this pandemic even if reports are not coming out of such states. The Hon. Minister of State for Health and the DG NCDC will expand on the statistics during this briefing.

​It is, however, very instructive to stress that factors that have contributed to rise in numbers from late November 2020 included increased local and international travels, business and religious activities, reopening of schools without strict compliance with COIVID-19 safety measures.

​The full import of the fore-going is to press further on the need for us all to elevate the level of our vigilance and compliance with the recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions.

The current wave of infections is swift and virulent, and we do not know how long it will last. Besides, the facilities available for the treatment of critical cases remain very limited and we do not wish to be overwhelmed.

Your best bet, therefore, is to avoid infections completely. The PTF has continued to receive inquiries about the issue of testing before travelling out of Nigeria.

For the avoidance of doubts, the protocol in Nigeria requires inbound passengers to test, not more than 96 hours, before boarding flights to Nigeria.

However, for passengers leaving Nigeria, it remains the responsibility of travellers to confirm the requirements of the country of destination and that of the carrier of choice. The National Coordinator will clarify the extant protocol and the policy position.

For in-bound travellers, a new protocol on pre-boarding has been released and compliance is still strongly recommended. The additional requirements for passengers coming from the United Kingdom and South Africa also remain in force. The NC will also speak on this during the briefing.

​Next week the pilot exercise on the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test-Kits (RDTs) will be rolled out in 5 tertiary health institutions in Abuja. The DG NCDC will expand on this.

​The isolation of different strains of the virus is being vigorously pursued. In this regard, the PTF is working with the Africa CDC and the NCDC on the sequencing of the COVID strains circulating in Nigeria. We shall keep Nigerians informed as the exercise progresses.

​As part of measures to deepen community engagement and enforcement of protocols, the PTF met with the Nigerian Governors Forum last week and will be meeting with key religious and traditional leaders soon. It will similarly meet with security agencies.

​The third stream of NYSC members will resume on 18th January and the PTF is working closely with the management to ensure that participants are tested, and protocols are complied with.

​Finally, the PTF has advanced the preparation for the management of all aspects of the vaccines discuss.

Particularly, lessons are being drawn from other jurisdictions on the successes and challenges of the vaccine administration. The Executive Director of the NPHCDA will elaborate on this.

​I now invite the Honourable Minister of State for Health, the DG (NCDC), and the National Coordinator to brief you from the technical perspectives.

​I thank you all for listening.

UPDATED: Nigerian Govt To Review Resumption Date For Schools, Says Education Minister

A file photo of the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu.

 

The Nigerian government says it is currently reviewing the January 18 resumption date for schools across the country, following the rise in COVID-19 cases.

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, stated this on Monday at the resumed briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

On his part, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, spoke about the ongoing enrolment exercise being conducted by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

He noted that only the President has the power to issue any order to alter the subsisting one regarding the National Identity Number (NIN) registration.

Mamora’s comment was in reaction to his earlier comment where he suggested that the NIN registration may be suspended due to the increased breach in COVID-19 guidelines at the NIMC offices.

For the PTF National Coordinator, Dr Sani aliyu, the security agencies will continue to enforce compliance with the non-pharmaceutical interventions within states.

He explained that in spite of a ‘no lockdown policy’, the PTF would review the existing protocols including a review of the curfew hours.

Aliyu added that a permit to travel would be enforced, particularly for travellers from the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Before the task force members took turns to give their updates, the PTF Chairman, Boss Mustapha, gave the opening remarks.

He outlined the factors that led to the increased figures of coronavirus recorded in the country since November 2020.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), revealed that increased local and international travels were among the major factors.

He listed the others to include increased business and religious activities, reopening of schools without strict compliance with COIVID-19 safety measures.

According to the PTF chairman, no state in Nigeria is immune to the pandemic even if reports are not coming out of such states.

He urged the people to stay away from activities that can expose them to the virus as the nation’s tally crossed 100,000.

COVID-19 Protocols: 33 Things Travellers Must Know Before Arriving In Nigeria

 

In a bid to properly tackle the spread of the novel coronavirus and its variants, the Federal Government through the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has released guidelines for travellers who will be arriving in Nigeria.  

Below are 20 things every air passenger coming into Nigeria must do before and after arriving.

The PTF in its communique noted that a breach in these regulations will attract punishments.

READ ALSO: 1358 Deaths Recorded As Nigeria’s COVID-19 Cases Exceed 100,000

1.  Passengers MUST perform a COVID-19 PCR test not more than 4 days (96 hours) before boarding.  PCR tests done more than 96 hours before departure are not valid and persons will not be allowed to board.

2.  All intending passengers (including diplomats and children less than 10 years old) MUST register via an online national travel portal (Nigeria International Travel Portal – https://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng) and proceed to fill in the online Health Declaration/Self-Reporting form located on the portal.

They should ensure that the information/contact details provided on the form are correct and verifiable.

3. Passengers MUST be reachable via the phone number, email, and residential address they have provided and must also inform Port Health officials on arrival of any change in their health circumstances since completion of the Health Declaration/Self-Reporting Form.

Passengers who falsify their status as diplomats will face prosecution.

4. After filling the online Health Declaration/ Self-Reporting Form, passengers will be directed to upload their negative COVID-19 PCR test on to the portal. Once this is successfully done, they will proceed to the payment section of the travel portal.

5. Passengers are advised to still bring along an electronic or hard copy of their COVID-19 PCR test for presentation at the airport.

6. On reaching the payment section of the portal, passengers will be requested to select their preferred Laboratory/Sample Collection Centre based on where they will be self-isolating at Day-7 of arrival in Nigeria.

(A list of accredited private laboratory providers/Sample Collection Centers across the country are available on the payment platform. The next stage is to choose a bank payment gateway and then proceed to pay for the Day-7 in-country COVID-19 PCR test. Please note that passengers paying with naira should use cards issued by a Nigerian bank.

Diplomats and children less than 10 years old are exempted from payment for the repeat COVID-19 test).

7. Following successful payment, passengers should download the Permit to Travel Certificate/ QR Code using the “Get Permit to Travel” button visible at the top right corner of the portal, save and print the form for presentation at the point of boarding.

The Permit to Travel Certificate/QR code will have a “PAID” label if payment is successful and “UNPAID” label if payment has not gone through yet or is unsuccessful.

A copy of the Permit to Travel Certificate/ QR Code will also be sent to the email address provided by the passenger.

8. Prior to boarding for Nigeria, passengers MUST present TWO documents at their point of departure to be allowed to board and these documents are a negative COVID-19 PCR test administered within 4 days (96 hours) of departure.

Airlines have been directed not to board passengers with non-PCR COVID-19 tests (such as antigen/or antibody tests), a positive COVID-19 PCR test result, or tests performed beyond 96 hours of boarding.

The second required document is the Permit to Travel Certificate/QR Code – generated from the Nigeria International Travel Portal on completion of a health questionnaire, uploading of a negative COVID-19 PCR result and payment for the repeat Day-7 COVID-19 PCR test at Day-7 of arrival in Nigeria.

9. Passengers failing to show a Permit to Travel Certificate/QR Code will not be allowed to board.

10. Passengers departing from the United Kingdom and Republic of South Africa MUST show evidence of having paid for their post-arrival Day-7 COVID-19 PCR test prior to boarding.

11. Airlines that board passengers without any of the TWO documents (a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken not more than 96 hours prior to boarding and a Permit to Travel Certificate/QR code), shall be sanctioned.

12. Passengers, who are Non-Nigerians, will be refused entry and returned to the point of embarkation at a cost to the airline if they do not have the required documents.

13.  Passengers who are Nigerians and holders of permanent resident permit will be allowed entry, but subjected to a mandatory quarantine of 8-14 days (depending on results of COVID-19 PCR test done from Day-7 of arrival) at a facility approved by the government
and at cost to the passenger(s)/airline.

14.  Airlines shall be fined USD 3,500 per passenger for failure to comply with any of the preboarding requirements.

15. Airlines who fail to comply with the above requirements may be banned from coming to Nigeria.

16. At the time of boarding, travellers will be required to undergo temperature screening and be asked about COVID-19 symptoms.

17. Passengers with temperature greater than 38C and other COVID-19 related signs and symptoms shall not be allowed to board the flight.

18. On arrival in Nigeria, all passengers are advised to strictly adhere to instructions given by Port Health Services at the
arrival terminal. Passengers who fail to adhere to instructions may be sanctioned by relevant security personnel.

19. All passengers arriving in Nigeria will be required to go through the routine Port Health screening and present electronic or print-out evidence of preboarding COVID-19 PCR test and the Permit to Travel Certificate/QR Code.

20. All passengers will present their international passports for clearance through the Nigerian Immigration Service System’s Migrants Identification Data Analysis System (MIDAS).

The Nigerian Immigration Service will not retain passports.

21. Once allowed into the country, passengers must proceed on mandatory 7 days self-isolation/quarantine in their selected place of abode; self-isolation in the city of port of entry is not mandatory.

22. Passengers are advised to avoid physical interactions during self-isolation; interaction with friends, family, colleagues, and other members of the public should be avoided.

23. Passengers should check their emails/text messages regularly for updates regarding the arrangement for their repeat COVID-19 PCR test from the laboratory of their choice.

24. Passengers are to present themselves at the laboratory/sample collection centers on the 7th day of arrival. Samples will be taken, and a COVID-19 PCR test done.

The selected private laboratory provider will send a reminder text message, email, or phone call to the passenger a day before the appointment.

25. Passengers who fail to submit themselves at the sample collection centers on Day-7 of arrival will be sent text reminders and their details forwarded to the State Public Health Department teams and NCDC for active follow-up

26. Private laboratories will forward details of passengers who decline or do not show up for repeat PCR test by Day-14 of arrival. These passengers will face travel restrictions on their passports
for 6 months and will not be able to travel abroad for this period.

Non-Nigerian passport holders will have their visas revoked.

27. Test results will be ready within 72 hours and the State Public Health Department teams & Nigeria Center for Disease Control will be informed accordingly; persons who test POSITIVE for COVID-19 will be managed based on National Guidelines for COVID-19 treatment while persons who test NEGATIVE for COVID-19 after 7 days shall end self-isolation on receipt of their result but must continue to self-monitor for symptoms until Day-14.

28. Travellers reporting or developing symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival in Nigeria, or during screening will not be allowed to self-quarantine and will be placed in institutional quarantine.

29.  For deportees, if one person tests positive for COVID-19, all close primary contacts will be required to undergo enhanced screening and a follow-up PCR test if necessary.

30. Public Health Officers will monitor passengers during the period of self –isolation/quarantine. For this reason, passengers MUST provide a functional/valid telephone number on their online registration forms.

31. Persons who develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 during the isolation period will immediately be tested for COVID-19. If positive, they will be managed based on National Guidelines for COVID-19 treatment.

32. Persons who test positive for COVID-19 after the post-arrival Day-7 test shall be managed based on national guidelines for COVID-19 treatment.

33. Persons who test negative for COVID-19 after 7 days of self-isolation/quarantine will be allowed to exit self-isolation on receipt of their result.

‘Two COVID-19 Tests, Seven-Day Isolation’: FG Releases Guidelines For Travellers Arriving In Nigeria

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

 

The federal government on Sunday released a ‘provisional quarantine protocol’ for travellers arriving into Nigeria amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Nigeria, currently battling the pandemic’s second wave, crossed the 100,000-mark for COVID-19 infections late Sunday, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

With more cases expected to be imported from abroad, the federal government is seeking to tighten the nation’s borders.

READ ALSO: WHO Scientists To Visit China For Investigations Into COVID-19 Origins

The protocol, signed by Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF), requires travellers to perform a COVID-19 test not more than four days before boarding their flight into Nigeria.

Travellers must also ensure to register via an online national travel portal (Nigeria International Travel Portal – https://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng), where they are required to fill a questionnaire and pay for a second COVID-19 test to be carried out seven days after arriving in Nigeria.

Non-Nigerian travellers who flout any of the protocols will be refused entry into the country and returned to “the point of embarkation at a cost to the airline.”

Nigerians and holders of a permanent residence permit who do not comply will be subjected to “a mandatory quarantine of 8-14 days (depending on results of
COVID-19 PCR test done from Day-7 of arrival) at a facility approved by the government and at a cost to the passenger(s)/airline.”

On arrival in Nigeria, travellers are expected to self-isolate for seven days, during which they are expected “to avoid physical interaction with friends, family, colleagues, and other members of the public.”

 

DOWNLOAD AND READ THE FULL PROTOCOL HERE

 

 

731 Corps Members Test Positive For COVID-19 – PTF

(File Photo) Members of the National Youth Service Corps depart an Orientation Camp. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun / Channels TV

 

Seven hundred and thirty-seven corps members from the Batch B have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force On COVID-19, Boss Mustapha disclosed this on Tuesday.

According to him, the cases were recorded from all states across the country.

“In continuation of the NYSC engagement, the PTF has conducted the testing of Batch B Corpers using RDTs,” he said.

“Out of the 35,419 in the Batch B, 731 tested positive compared to 108 recorded during the Batch A.

“It is on record that cases were recorded from Corps Members from every State of the Federation”.

See the full speech of the PTF Chairman below.

REMARKS BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON COVID-19 FOR TUESDAY, 5th JANUARY, 2021

I welcome you all to the National Briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 for today, Tuesday, 5th January, 2021.

2.Let me on behalf of the PTF welcome all Nigerians to the year 2021. The PTF wishes everyone a happy, prosperous and healthy New Year.

3.At the last briefing to close 2020, we appealed to all Nigerians to stay safe and act in most defensive and protective ways by complying with the NPIs already prescribed. We do hope that at individual levels you took the expected responsibility.

4. Closely associated with that is the increasing daily numbers that we are recording. Yesterday 4th January, 2021, we recorded 1,204 infections. This was the highest daily number ever recorded since we commenced the national response. From our analysis, we are beginning to see the effect of activities carried out during the Christmas festivities. We can only hope that numbers will not escalate beyond control. We however, still appeal to all citizens to take full responsibility through compliance and vigilance.

5.As at date, the statistics for Nigeria shows the following:

✓ Cumulative cases: 91,351
✓ Cumulative Tests: 958,911
✓ Deaths: 1,318
✓ Week 53 recorded 57 deaths which is the highest for any single week since we started.

✓ There is also a rising rate of infections among health care workers and this calls for the escalation of surveillance.

✓ In Africa, Nigeria has joined South Africa in reporting the highest daily infection cases.

6.As we have always maintained, testing is a key strategy under the national response. To this end we can report that there are about 100 laboratories across the country. These are 71 public labs; 22 private labs and 7 corporate labs. Collectively, they are to help improve testing in the country.

7.Regrettably, however, there is still very low testing in a number of states. For clarity, the DG NCDC will elaborate on the spheres of responsibility in testing and the Federal Government has sufficiently supported the States to enable them support surveillance and IPC.

8.To overcome some of these challenges, the PTF will intensify the risk communication and community engagement to create awareness. The share level of doubts about the virus is alarming and I call on everyone to become advocates in support of the National Response.

9.In continuation of the NYSC engagement, the PTF has conducted the testing of batch B Corpers using RDTs. Out of the 35,419 in the Batch B, 731 tested positive compared to 108 recorded during the Batch A. It is on record that cases were recorded from Corps Members from every State of the Federation.

10. In the last two weeks, a lot has been discussed on case management and in particular, the availability of oxygen to save lives. We are pleased to inform you that the private sector – CACOVID has commenced supporting our response with 100 oxygen cylinders per day till the end of March, 2021, for distribution to critical care centres in Abuja.

11. Furthermore, approval has been given to rehabilitate five oxygen plants across various tertiary health institutions in Abuja. The President has also approved that at least one oxygen plant should be established in each state of the federation immediately. The National Coordinator will elaborate on this during this briefing.

12. The PTF is progressing on the issue of accessing vaccines for Nigerians. Additional information will be provided to Nigerians on accelerated vaccines introduction and deployment plan.

13.What is currently confronting us is a critical phase of infections globally. We are constantly reviewing our strategy to emerging situations especially in risk communication, vaccine hesitancy, fake news/disinformation.

14.Finally, I wish to confirm that the PTF has commenced the sanctions on passengers who defaulted on day-7 post-arrival tests. Their passport numbers have been published and travel restriction imposed for a period of six months effective 1st January, 2021.

15.Let me categorically state that the PTF has generated over 20,000 inbound passengers that have also defaulted. The publication will continue weekly till it is exhausted.

16.Nigerians should be aware that every defaulter is a threat to public health which is unacceptable to us and represent a drawback to the National Response. We have a duty to advise our relations, friends, associates to comply with laid down rules. The DG (NCDC) and the National Coordinator will update you on this.

17. I now invite the Hon. Minister of State for Health, the DG (NCDC) and the National Coordinator to brief you from the technical perspectives.

18.I thank you all for listening.