PTF Decries High Purchase Of Hydroxychloroquine By Nigerians

A file photo of the PTF Chairman, Mr Boss Mustapha, at a press briefing in Abuja.

 

 

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has decried the rate of purchase of hydroxychloroquine by Nigerians.

While addressing reporters in Abuja on Thursday, the PTF Chairman, Mr Boss Mustapha, warned the citizens against self-medication, especially when they have the symptoms of COVID-19.

He explained that the drug has not been certified for the treatment of the disease and could be harmful to such patients.

“Through the surveillance system set up by the PTF, we have received reports that Nigerians have been purchasing hydroxychloroquine in large quantities,” said Mustapha who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

He added, “We wish to reiterate that this drug has not been certified for use in treating COVID-19 in Nigeria by the relevant health and pharmaceutical authorities. Self-medication of any kind is fraught with the danger of increasing risks of avoidable casualties.

“We, therefore, strongly warn against self-medication. If you are sick, please seek medical advice, and if you are confirmed positive, kindly self-isolate in an approved facility.”

 

The PTF chairman stressed that Nigerians must see COVID-19 as a highly infectious and dangerous disease, noting that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had warned that the world still has a long way to go in fighting the pandemic.

He quoted the WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, as saying that 106,000 cases were recorded globally in 24 hours, representing the highest single-day number since the outbreak of the pandemic.

According to Mustapha, the importance of the message is very clear to Nigerians who need to eschew skepticism about the existence of COVID-19 and its potency.

He also urged the people to change their behaviours and commit to joining hands in tackling the pandemic in the country.

The PTF chairman also addressed the issue of harassment of essential service workers by security officials enforcing the COVID-19 curfew and apologised to the victims of such ill-treatment.

He said, “For sometimes now, the PTF has consistently answered questions and provided explanations on the categories of persons and services exempted from some aspects of these guidelines particularly as it relates to restrictions on interstate movement and curfew.

“For the avoidance of doubt, essential workers including our indefatigable medical personnel, diligent journalists, courageous fire service personnel, telecommunications workers, are all exempted.”

PTF Extends Gradual Easing Of COVID-19 Lockdown By Two Weeks

PTF Chairman, Mr Boss Mustapha, at a press briefing in Abuja on May 18, 2020.

 

 

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has extended the gradual easing of the lockdown by two weeks.

The PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, announced this on Monday during the briefing of the members of the task force in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He said, “The reality is that in spite of the modest progress made, Nigeria is not yet ready for full opening of the economy and tough decisions have to be taken for the good of the greater majority.

“Any relaxation will only portend grave danger for our populace. Advisedly, the current phase of eased restriction will be maintained for another two weeks during which stricter enforcement and persuasion measures will be pursued.”

Mustapha explained that the extension of the first phase of the lockdown ease was to enable other segments of the economy to prepare adequately for compliance with the guidelines, preparatory to reopening in the coming weeks.

According to him, the PTF shares the pains of Nigerians but the future of the country is in their hands and subsequent decisions will depend greatly on their compliance.

The PTF chairman also disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved some recommendations of the task force.

He said, “​The measures, exemptions, advisories, and scope of entities allowed to reopen under phase one of the eased locked down, shall be maintained across the federation for another two weeks effective from 12 midnight of May 18 to June 1.”

Other recommendations approved by the President include ​intensifying efforts to communicate, identify, and manage COVID-19 cases; and ​elevating the level of community ownership of non-pharmaceutical interventions.

The lockdown order in Kano State, according to the SGF, has also been extended by another two weeks.

He noted that the President had announced a phased and gradual easing of the lockdown in Lagos and Ogun States, as well as the Federal Capital Territory in his nationwide broadcast on April 27.

Mustapha added that the President also highlighted the additional nationwide measures aimed at ensuring that the nation’s economy continued to function within the limiting constraints posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19: Buhari Receives Briefing From PTF Delegation

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday received a briefing from a delegation of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

The task force which is chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, met with the President at the State House in Abuja.

READ ALSO: Madagascar Cure Will Be Subjected To Regulatory Process Before Use In Nigeria – PTF

Others at the meeting include the Health Minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire; PTF National Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu; the Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, and others.

The pictures from the briefing were shared on the Presidency’s official Twitter handle @NGRPresident.

See photos below…

Five States Participate In WHO Solidarity Trial – PTF

 

Five states in Nigeria are participating in the ongoing solidarity trial for a treatment for the COVID-19, sponsored by the World Health Organisation.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, disclosed this at the briefing in Abuja on Friday.

He said this while commending survivors for sharing their experiences.

The PTF Chairman, however, strongly discouraged them from giving details of treatment because according to him, this could encourage self-medication.

“The Presidential Task Force congratulates and appreciates the testimony of Nigerians who have recovered from COVID-19, which has given us more insight and further strengthened the need to adhere strictly to guidelines issued,” he said.

“However, an emerging issue from all these testimonies is the issue of prescription for treatment. We should always remember that the symptoms of COVID-19 mimic some illnesses we already know, but treating the symptoms is not the same as treating the virus. And for this reason, we strongly discourage self-medication; we shall continue to encourage all Nigerians that see the symptoms to test, and if positive, go into the isolation centre for care by experts.

“Five states in Nigeria are participating in the ongoing W.H.O coordinated solidarity trial. At the end of this, relevant authorities will make statements on acceptable drugs for treating COVID-19,” the PTF Chairman added.

Read Also: Quarter Of A Billion Africans At Risk Of COVID-19 Infection – WHO

The W.H.O solidarity project has over one hundred countries that have pledged to participate in the trial of any treatment and vaccine from the body.

Meanwhile, also at the briefing, the Minister of Foreign Affairs offered clarifications as to why Nigerian evacuees in Thailand are making payments for their airlift and quarantine.

“This is not, by any stretch of the imagination, something that the government is happy to do. As I mentioned, time and time again, if the resources were there, we will evacuate everybody. And if our medical infrastructure was solid and our caseload was much lower, we could look at other ways of accommodating, revisit our protocol,” Onyeama said.

“But the way things are at the moment, the fragility of our health infrastructure, the trajectory of the increasing numbers, of positive tests, being what they are, we have to take the greatest care with regard to the protocol we have to people coming home.”

Madagascar Cure Will Be Subjected To Regulatory Process Before Use In Nigeria – PTF

 

The Madagascar herbal remedy for COVID-19 will be subjected to the normal regulatory processes before it will be administered for use in Nigeria.

This was disclosed on Tuesday by the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Sani Aliyu, while addressing journalists in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Aliyu said following the presidential directive that the herbal remedy be airlifted to Nigeria, it will be subjected to stringent regulatory process within the legal frameworks of the country.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 Cure: WHO Meets African Traditional Medicine Experts

“I want to start briefly by talking about the Madagascar cure. As directed by the President, I want to state that any medication coming into the country whether it is herbal cure or concoction or normal drug. It has to be subjected to the normal regulatory process.

“The Madagascar cure will be subjected to the normal process we expect within the legal frameworks and guidelines that we have. More importantly, not only to establish its efficacy but for it to be legally registered.

“So this drug would go through the normal regulatory process which can be stringent before it can be administered in the country,” Aliyu said.

President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier ordered the PTF to airlift COVID Organics to Nigeria.

The Health Minister Osagie Ehanire including the PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, however, stressed on Monday that the remedy will be subjected to scrutiny before it can be used.

PTF Mobilises 3,300 Informants To Report Suspected COVID-19 Cases In Kano

FG Has Made Provision For N30,000 Minimum Wage, Says SGF
A file photo of the SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha.

 

 

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 will engage about 3,300 informants to report suspected cases of coronavirus in Kano State.

The PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, revealed this on Tuesday in Abuja.

He made the disclosure when he led members of the task force to the House of Representatives chamber of the National Assembly in the nation’s capital.

Mustapha briefed the lawmakers on the measures being put in place by the Federal Government to address the situation in Kano and curb the spread of the disease in the state.

He explained that the task force has mobilised the informants for a house-to-house search and report suspected cases of COVID-19 in the state.

The PTF chairman believes Kano is fast emerging as the epicentre of the pandemic in the northern region of the country.

As part of efforts to address the situation, he revealed that a total of 58 technical staff from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have been deployed in the state.

According to Mustapha, the COVID-19 testing capacity in Kano has been increased to 400 per day and plans are in place to increase it to 2,000 daily by the end of the week.

He, therefore, used the opportunity to call on the National Assembly to pass legislation that would further cushion the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and improve the health sector.

Among the PTF members who accompanied the SGF are the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, and the Director-General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu.

PTF Releases Guidelines To Implement Gradual Easing Of COVID-19 Lockdown

FG Has Made Provision For N30,000 Minimum Wage, Says SGF
A file photo of the SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha.

 

 

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has released the guidelines for the implementation of the phased and gradual easing of the lockdown.

This was announced in a series of tweets posted via the task force’s Twitter handle on Friday.

The five-page document was signed by the PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.

It is divided into two sections which comprise the general information on new COVID-19 measures and protocols for the containment of the disease.

President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the lockdown in Lagos and Ogun States, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), as part of measures to curb the spread of the disease.

He, however, announced in his Monday broadcast that there would be a gradual easing of the lockdown in the three cities from May 4.

See the documents below:

Govt Offices, Banks Can Open From Monday, Says PTF

 

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has announced that government offices and banks can resume operations from Monday the 4th of May.

This follows the approval of a phased easing of the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory, by President Muhammadu Buhari, to allow for the restoration of socio-economic activities.

However, there would be a 6:00 am to 8:00 pm curfew to regulate the movement of people.

Giving a breakdown of how the easing of the lockdown will be implemented, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Aliyu Sani, during Wednesday’s briefing, said all government offices and banks can resume operations from Monday.

“For government offices, staff will be allowed to resume from the 4th of May but it will be based on specific grade levels and specific days, so that we can reduce the amount of congestion that we might have in the offices,” he said.

For financial institutions such as banks, the PTF coordinator noted that they will be allowed to open but only between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm, while also ensuring that staff and customers adhere to the hygiene and social distancing measures.

Aliyu stressed that the easing of the lockdown is actually just a shift from one set of interventions to another.

“The most important thing I want to emphasize is, even though we talk about easing the lockdown, in actual fact, we are not really easing, we are just shifting from one set of interventions to another because we are really still far from controlling this epidemic,” he said.

For general movements outside the curfew periods, the PTF coordinator said: “people may go out for work, to buy necessary food and for exercise but we strongly advise persons to restrict themselves to their local government areas except for those that live in metropolitan areas”.

Interstate travel, according to him, will be restricted to only those involved in the supply chain and services such as goods, agricultural products, petroleum products, courier services and relief items etc.

On the other hand, for intrastate movement, services and businesses were advised to provide hand sanitizers for customers.

The general public was also advised to imbibe the use of face masks and other hygiene measures.

On the issue of mass gatherings, Aliyu said there shall be no gatherings of more than 20 persons anywhere per time so as to ensure adherence to physical distancing.

For the manufacturing sector, “we encourage shift work for manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies and limiting staff to only 30-50% to maintain physical distancing and pharmacy shops may remain open overnight,” he said.

Restaurants have been asked not open to the public but will be allowed to engage in home deliveries of food items.

While partial operations will be allowed for the above sectors, academic institutions were, however, advised to remain closed until further evaluation is done.

“Schools are encouraged to continue with e-learning and virtual teaching”, the PTF coordinator added.

PTF Announces Guidelines For Easing Of Lockdown

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.

 

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) has released the guidelines for the ease of COVID-19 guidelines which will come into effect on May 4.

In a briefing on Wednesday, PTF Chairman and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, noted that banks and offices will reopen next week.

The SGF, however, insisted that educational institutions will still remain shut nationwide as precautionary steps to prevent the spread of the virus in the country.

“In line with Mr President’s directives in paragraphs 34 to 41 of his broadcast, the Presidential Task Force has developed guidelines. The gradual reopening of the economy will stand a total of six weeks broken into three tranches of two weeks each.

“To the avoidance of doubt, the following clarifications are provided – The overnight curfew is applicable nationwide. The inter-state travels are banned except for the movement of goods, agro products, petroleum products, essential services as directed by Mr President,” he said.

READ ALSO: CBN Resumes Dollar Sales For SMEs, School Fees

Ahead of the reopening of offices, the SGF warned corporate organisations to take some precautionary measures before resuming.

Some of these include maintaining social distancing, making available hand sanitisers, and fumigation of their environment among others.

“The management of various offices, premises and businesses that will be gradually reopened are mandated to ensure that the following preparatory steps are taken:

“Fumigation and decontamination, an arrangement made for physical distancing, provision of hand sanitisers and handwashing facilities, application of the policy of mandatory use of face masks, provision of thermometers for temperature checks,” he said.

While calling on organisations to give special consideration which must be given to persons living with disabilities, Mustapha asked business managers to increase communication with their staff on COVID-19.

PTF Has Received Life Insurance Cover For All COVID-19 Frontline Workers – SGF

 

 

The Nigerian government has received a life insurance cover for all frontline workers in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This was revealed by the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, during a briefing in Abuja on Friday.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), explained that this was the contribution of the nation’s insurance industry to the effort towards curbing the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

“I am pleased to inform you that in addition to what the Federal Government is doing, the insurance industry has responded massively to the call for support.

“The Presidential Task Force has received a life insurance cover to all frontline workers on COVID-19 for a maximum of 5,000 health workers who are employed to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said in his opening remarks at the briefing.

The task force chairman added, “The premium, in the sum of N112,500,000 for cover, has been fully paid by the Nigeria Insurance Industry, in line with the principle of no premium, no cover.”

He thanked the insurance industry for the contribution and called on other sectors of the economy to rise up to support the effort to fight COVID-19.

Mustapha also assured the frontline workers to double their efforts, saying the government was committed to protecting them in the course of discharging their duty.

He specifically asked the health workers not to relent, noting that the Federal Government has put in place measures to ensure their welfare was taken care of.

The SGF said, “Today, the welfare of our frontline heroes – the health workers – came to the front burner

“I am pleased to inform you that the Federal Ministry of Health, working in conjunction with the MDAs, and the health sector professional bodies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for various allowances and other incentives.”

This Is Not The Time For Any Health Worker To Be Dismissed – Minister

 

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has advised medical authorities across the country against removal or dismissal of any health workers.

Ehanire gave this advice on Friday during the daily briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, in Abuja.

He stressed that all health workers are needed at this period when the nation is combating a pandemic and therefore, all hands must be on deck.

“This is not the time for any doctor to be pulled out of service. We need all at this time, we need nurses, laboratory scientists, we need all hands on deck at this time,” Ehanire said.

The minister who gave this advice while responding to questions concerning the dismissal of a certain group of doctors added that although he is not aware about the incident, it will be investigated.

Read Also: PTF Has Received Life Insurance Cover For All COVID-19 Frontline Workers – SGF

“With regards to the doctors who were dismissed, there must have been administration reasons which I don’t know about. It will be looked into by the board at the hospital,” he said.

Ehanire also in his address applauded frontline health workers saying, “we salute you courage and patriotism.”

He, however, urged them to protect themselves and remain vigilant in line of duty.

“Protect yourselves as prescribed. Use your personal protective equipment judiciously. Do not attempt to treat COVID-19 patients without wearing adequate PPE or if your institution is not accredited to do so.

“This is important because we need to keep health workers safe at such a time and cannot afford an increase in number of those who test positive to COVID-19 and have to go into self-isolation.

“Remain vigilant in the line of duty and maintain high index of suspicion for this infection,” he said.

The Minister of Health had earlier on Thursday announced that about 40 health workers have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.

Buhari Stresses Need For Local Production Of Essential Drugs

Olu-Akinkugbe-and-Muhammadu-BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday stressed the need for pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria to focus on the production of essential drugs locally.

He also assured the companies of the government’s support to enable them produce locally, instead of relying on wholesale importation.

The President made the call while receiving a team, led by Professor Olu Akinkugbe and constituted by the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library to develop an agenda for the health sector in the country.

President Buhari recalled that the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), which he headed in the 1990s, had developed what it called “institutional strengthening,” in which PTF supported pharmaceutical companies with resources to encourage local production of drugs.

“We can revisit the experience. We can strengthen pharmaceutical companies to produce essential drugs needed in the country locally. We can then be sure of the quality of such medications” the President said.

On privatisation of healthcare institutions as canvassed in some quarters, President Buhari stressed the need to be careful and take a look at the state of development of the country before considering the option.

“Privatisation aims at maximum profit. It then excludes the poor and the vulnerable from accessing healthcare. But we have to look after the poor,” President Buhari stressed.

The Olu Akinkugbe-led team had earlier given insights into its agenda for the health sector to include proposals on healthcare financing, developing health intelligence/observatory to preempt epidemics, simultaneous focus on primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare, preventing labour unrests in the health sector, facilitating access to essential drugs through local production and the drug distribution system among others.

Professor Akinkugbe commended President Buhari for keeping faith with the change doctrine, adding that the current buffeting economic storms were global, and not peculiar to Nigeria.

He believes Nigerians will surely overcome.