FG To Suspend Passports Of 100 Passengers Refusing Post Arrival COVID-19 Test

 

Effective from January 1st, 2021, passports of the first one hundred passengers that have failed to take their post-arrival COVID-19 test will be published in the national dailies and suspended till June 2021.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha made the announcement in Abuja on Tuesday during a briefing.

Mustapha, also, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), said that the names of the passengers would be published on Jan. 1, 2021, while the suspension of the passports would last for six months.

He also revealed that there are some additional quarantine protocols to be observed by travelers arriving from the UK and South Africa.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Reopen All Labs And Keep Isolation Centres Open, PTF Tells States

The new protocols according to the task force who already predict that January 2021 will be a tough month, is to minimize the possibility of virus importation into the country.

The SGF lamented the difficulties experienced in the national response, noting that the nation’s response is passing through a challenging phase due to the seriousness of the second wave of infections in Nigeria.

“Week 52 has so far given us the highest number of infections in a single week to date. Our analysis shows that 16 out of every 100 tests carried out are positive.

“We are also seeing increasing transmission among younger people and this is not considered good and safe. We must, therefore, exercise utmost restraint by taking responsibility,” he said.

Mustapha said that the PTF had discussed two critical issues, Oxygen supply, and Case Management, and during the conversation with health authorities, CMDs of Federal Tertiary Institutions in Abuja, National Hospital; Jabi & Gwagwalada, the PTF directed that the level of Infections, Prevention and Control, as well as case management, should be prioritized immediately.

“With the increasing number of infections and hospitalization, our objectives are to ensure that infection, prevention, and control (IPC) is properly instituted to minimize spread and exposure of health care workers to the virus;

“Ensure that those who require hospitalization are well managed; those requiring medical attention for other ailments gain access to Treatment at medical facilities; and critical care is available and deployed, especially where oxygen is needed.

“The situation in Abuja and its environs has been of concern to the PTF,” the SGF stated.

COVID-19: Reopen All Labs And Keep Isolation Centres Open, PTF Tells States

PTF Chairman, Mr Boss Mustapha, briefing reporters in Abuja on December 29, 2020.

 

Authorities in all 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have been asked to reopen all laboratories and scale up the testing for COVID-19.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, made the appeal on Tuesday at a briefing in Abuja.

“We wish to urge all states to reopen all laboratories and ensure that testing is expanded and turnaround time for results is substantially reduced.

“In the same vein, states should please keep their Isolation and Treatment Centres open because of the rising cases of infection nationwide,” he told reporters at the briefing.

Nigeria has tested 937,712 samples, out of which 84,811 infections have been confirmed, 12,190 cases are active, 71,357 people have been discharged, and 1,264 fatalities recorded – as of 7pm on December 29, 2020.

This data is according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)’s micro-website dedicated to monitoring the outbreak in the country.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), added, “Reports received also point to the fact that laboratories recently established in the states are not working optimally.

“You will recall that we moved from two laboratories to about ninety (public and private) located in all states of the Federation. Their inability to function optimally has resulted in unacceptable levels of delay in receiving results and pressure on the national reference labs.”

A screenshot taken on December 29, 2020, shows Nigeria’s COVID-19 data.

 

He announced that effective from January 1, 2021, the passports of the first 100 passengers that have failed to take their post-arrival PCR test would be published in the national dailies.

According to the PTF chairman, the passports of the erring returning travellers will be suspended until June 2021, to serve as a deterrent.

On the issue of oxygen availability as critical to the success of managing the outbreak, he noted that a review of the chain for the supply of medical oxygen for facilities across the country was ongoing.

Four Of My Children, Five Others Tested Positive For COVID-19 – Boss Mustapha

 

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, says four of his children and five other members of his household have recently tested positive to the Coronavirus.

Mustapha Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 announced this during a media briefing in Abuja on Monday.

He also said a family member who is one-year-old tested positive for the virus.

He said while he and his wife tested negative for the virus, his children are currently receiving treatment.

READ ALSO: Top US Scientist Anthony Fauci Receives COVID-19 Vaccine

“The first test we ran, the result came back with six members within my household testing positive. The second test confirmed another three. From the month of March to November, we are being confronted with a figure of nine. It was quite a traumatic experience. And the reality of what we are dealing with as a nation confronted me.

“My wife and I consistently tested negative but members of the household were infected. I am sharing this experience so that we can all know that COVID-19 is real and is no respecter of office.

“I was not infected but the truth about it, the agony of having members of your household… I am a father of four. All my four kids were infected,” he said.

Mustapha added that the spike in coronavirus cases is as a result of the consequences of certain occurrences in the last few weeks such as an increase in social gatherings and disregard for health protocols.

The SGF and his wife had earlier gone into isolation after some members of their household tested positive for COVID-19.

He noted that their health status was confirmed on Saturday evening after the results of the tests carried out on their samples collected were received.

SGF, Wife In Isolation As Household Members Test Positive For COVID-19

A file photo of the SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, addressing reporters at a PTF briefing in Abuja on July 27, 2020.

 

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, and his wife have gone into isolation after some members of their household tested positive for COVID-19.

Mustapha, who is also the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, confirmed this in a statement on Sunday.

Although he did not specify who the infected persons are, he noted that their health status was confirmed on Saturday evening after the results of the tests carried out on their samples collected were received.

VIDEO: Customs Seize 73 Locally Made Guns, 891 Cartridges In Kebbi

The SGF, however, stated that they were asymptomatic and have been isolated at one of the government’s treatment centres where they were receiving care.

He added that he took the test along with his wife and the results came back negative but would remain in self-isolation according to protocols by the health authorities.

Mustapha sought the prayers of Nigerians for his family and urged them to be mindful that the nation was already witnessing an increase in COVID-19 cases across many states.

Read the full statement of the SGF below:

OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION

PRESS RELEASE

SOME MEMBERS OF SGF’S HOUSEHOLD TEST POSITIVE TO COVID-19.

I would like to inform the general public that some members of my household tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday evening.

Although they are currently asymptomatic, they have been isolated and are receiving care in one of the government treatment centres.

My wife and I tested negative but will remain in self-isolation and work from home according to protocols by the health authorities.

I would like to remind all Nigerians that COVID-19 is real. As the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced last week, we are recording an increase in cases across several states.

Please stay safe and protect yourself. Adhere to all public health and safety measures so that we do not lose the gains we have made in the fight against COVID-19.

As a family, we covet your prayers.

Please Take Responsibility for yourself and to protect our country!

SIGN

Boss Mustapha

Secretary To The Government of The Federation /Chairman PTF on Covid-19

13th December, 2020.

Osinbajo, SGF, In Attendance As Buhari Presides Over Virtual FEC Meeting

Buhari presides over FEC meeting

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation were in attendance at the 19th virtual Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The meeting which was held at the Council Chambers of the State House, Abuja also had in attendance the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Munguno (retd).

Ministers physically present at the Council Chambers are Ministers of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Finance, Zainab Ahmed, Justice, Abubakar Malami, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami.

Ministers present at the meeting

Others include Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, and Minister of Power Saleh Mamma.

The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, and other members of the cabinet are participating in the weekly council meeting from their various offices in Abuja.

Minister attending virtually

See More Photos Below:

 

‘COVID-19 Is Still Real, Ferocious And Deadly’: PTF Warns Nigerians

A file photo of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha.
A file photo of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha.

 

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has warned Nigerians against complacency even though the country has been reporting fewer cases of the virus in recent months, stressing that the disease is still deadly. 

“Although Nigeria is no longer in the top five countries by cumulative deaths in Africa, the PTF continues to urge Nigerians to change their attitude of scepticism and nonchalance to the virus,” the Chairman of the PTF, Boss Mustapha, warned during a briefing of the task force on Thursday in Abuja.

READ ALSO: Germany Sees Alarming Rise In COVID-19 Cases

“For the avoidance of doubts, the virus is real, ferocious and deadly. To date, Nigeria has recorded 59,738 confirmed cases and 1,113 fatalities.”

While the recovery rate for the virus in the West African country – 51,403 discharged cases as of Wednesday, October 7th, 2020 – is something to cheer about, Mustapha who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), is insisting the country will not be deceived.

“The PTF is fully conscious, but not deceived, by the fact that our recovery rate is high and very encouraging,” the SGF added, calling for ramping up of COVID-19 tests which he reiterated is “the only way to detect, isolate, trace and treat.”

‘Build Mutual Trust’

With media reports suggesting that many Nigerians lack faith in the government and its agency, the PTF leader is warning that such development could mar the successes recorded in the country’s fight against the virus.

“The PTF and relevant agencies are working with the European Union on the issue of flights into Nigeria,” he said while giving an update about flights coming into the nation.

“As soon as negotiations are completed, Nigerians will be informed accordingly. For flights currently allowed into Nigeria, we are seeing a combined number of 4,500 arriving passengers per day into Lagos and Abuja.”

Adopt Nasarawa’s Model Of Election In COVID-19 Era, SGF Tells States

SGF, Boss Mustapha

 

The Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has asked states preparing for elections in the COVID-19 era to adopt the model used in Nasarawa State.

The SGF commended the recently concluded state Assembly bye-election held in the state.

He noted that the state complied with the directive given by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and advised other states to take a cue describing it as the “Nasarawa state model”.

H stated this after an interaction with the state governor, Abdullahi Sule on Tuesday in Abuja.

Mr. Mustapha described the governor’s leadership style as innovative and full of ideas where promises are made and kept.

He also commended the peace-building role and in resolving crises between neighbouring states of Benue and Taraba.

In his remarks, the state governor thanked the Federal Government for its support to the state especially in its fight against insecurity and the pandemic.

We Are Expecting Pardoned Convicted Nigerians From US, UAE, Others – PTF

PTF chairman, Boss Mustapha, briefs reporters in Abuja on August 17, 2020.

 

Nigeria is expecting the return of some of its citizens who have been convicted and pardoned in various countries around the world.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, disclosed this on Monday at a press briefing in Abuja.

He listed some of the countries that were planning to repatriate such Nigerians to include the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

Mustapha said, “A number of countries have signified intention to repatriate Nigerians convicted and pardoned and paroled in those countries.

“They include the UAE, Egypt and the United States of America. Coming in the midst of our National Response to COVID-19, all relevant agencies of government are taking multi-sectoral steps to ensure that the process remains within acceptable international protocols and in line with bilateral agreements.”

He stressed that the repatriation of the convicted Nigerians was quite different from the government’s regular evacuation flights.

The PTF chairman announced that the evacuation flights would end on August 25, to allow airports sufficient time to prepare for the resumption of international flights.

He noted the decline in COVID-19 fatalities, high discharge rates, and consistent under-500 daily cases for the past four weeks.

Mustapha, who is the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), stressed that this was in spite of the huge jump in the nation’s testing capacity and increased daily tests conducted.

He, however, informed Nigerians that the country has yet to attain the desired level that would enable authorities to make conclusive statements on the rate of infection in Nigeria.

The PTF chairman asked Nigerians to keep doing that which was giving the country record improvements and desist from actions capable of undermining the successes.

According to him, the country is fully in the community spread phase and one of the major measures that should be taken is to keep testing to detect and treat.

Low COVID-19 Cases Shouldn’t Be Misinterpreted For Victory, FG Warns Nigerians

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

 

The Federal Government has warned Nigerians to remain vigilant as the nation intensifies the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Addressing reporters on Monday in Abuja at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the PTF Chairman, Boss Mustapha, warned that the country has yet to win the war against COVID-19.

According to him, it is important that the daily low test and case confirmation numbers should not be misinterpreted to mean that Nigeria has overcome.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), said the government has over time ramped up testing but there was more to be done to raise the quantum of test per million.

He said an analysis showed that five states still account for 60 per cent of cumulative cases and 689 out of the 774 local government areas (LGAs) have reported at least one case.

The PTF chairman decried that 85 LGAs in 20 states remain with no testing done and no case reported while 50 per cent of all the cases were in 20 per cent of the nation’s LGAs.

He insisted that Nigeria has yet to reach the peak of the pandemic but noted that the PTF was happy that many survivors were telling their stories and sharing them on social media.

 

Mustapha believes the stories of those who he said doubted the existence of the virus and became infected and are now expressing appreciation for the timely intervention of the case management team, have provided compelling proof that the virus is real.

He, therefore, called on the people to continue to observe all existing measures towards curbing the further spread of the disease in the country.

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

REMARKS BY THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION/CHAIRMAN OF THE PTF-COVID-19 AT THE NATIONAL PRESS BRIEFING OF MONDAY, 10th AUGUST, 2020

​I welcome you all to the National Briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 for Monday, 10th August 2020.

On Thursday 6th August 2020, the PTF intimated Nigerians with the new direction of further easing the lockdown in our National Response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we progress in this new phase of the eased lockdown, continual monitoring of global and national science and data remains the basis for strengthening our efforts to contain the virus.

​Key sectors that the PTF will be watching in addition to the general level of compliance are the education and transportation sectors.

Schools are gradually reopening with the commencement of preparations for critical examinations. Guidelines have already been issued by the Federal Ministry of Education to all stakeholders.

For the transportation sector, the PTF continues to follow the developments in railway and air transportation respectively.

Nigerians and sector stakeholders are admonished to ensure compliance with the various non-pharmaceutical measures already in place.  The PTF and the Federal Ministry of Aviation are working rapidly towards reopening of the international flights.

​The PTF will also be looking closely at the issue of Risk Communication and Community Engagement.

Messaging and consultations shall be intensified to drive the level of awareness and compliance to the wider population using mediums and platforms that are most effective generally and specifically.

Today, the global numbers of confirmed cases surpassed 20 million and 750,000 deaths. These statistics remain serious warning signals accompanied by pains and anguish to families and friends that have lost loved ones.

Africa’s confirmed cases have surpassed one million mark which is a landmark. The challenge however is that the true numbers could be higher because we suspect strongly that for every reported case, up to seven might have been missed.

Ladies and gentlemen, the numbers are surging, community spread has taken root and expanded beyond the urban areas. The watchword is vigilance and taking extra care.

​Nigeria, with 46,577 confirmed cases and 945 cumulative deaths, remains respectively the third and fourth highest in these parameters. As we emphasized at the last briefing, Nigeria is yet to reach the peak of the pandemic.

Therefore, the low test/ case confirmation numbers coming out daily should not be misinterpreted to mean that we have overcome. We have over time ramped up testing but more needs to be done to raise the quantum of test per million. Our analysis has however shown that:

(i)  five (5) States still account for 60% of cumulative cases;

(ii) 689 out of 774 LGAs have reported a case;

(iii) 85 LGAs in 20 States still remain with no testing done and no case

Reported; and

(iv)  50% of all cases are in 20% LGAs

The PTF is happy to note that many survivors are telling their stories and sharing them in the social media.

The stories of those who doubted the existence of the virus and became unfortunately infected and are now expressing appreciation for timely intervention of the case management team provide compelling proof that the virus is real.

I am also happy to note that the electronic media has taken up our challenge of joining the risk communication as depicted over the weekend with the face to face interview conducted by the Arise News team.

​It is also important I inform you that Nigeria continues to play its role in supporting the fight against COVID-19 on the West Africa Sub-Region.

Last week, men and women of the Nigerian Airforce distributed PPEs and medical supplies donated by the West African Health Organisation and other partners to our neighbors.

However, to show true leadership against the pandemic, we, as a people and country need to contain the virus by doing all we can to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the country at large.

I now call on the Honourable Minister of Health, DG, NCDC and the National Coordinator to provide us with their briefs.

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

Buhari Approves Extension Of Eased COVID-19 Lockdown By Four Weeks

The SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, addressing reporters at the PTF briefing in Abuja on July 27, 2020.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the extension of the second phase of the eased lockdown for another four weeks.

This extension is the third for the second phase of lockdown currently observed across the country.

Mr Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 disclosed this during the Task Force briefing in Abuja on Thursday.

The task force had met with President Buhari on Wednesday and briefed him on the progress made so far in containing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping citizens safe from contracting the virus.

READ ALSO: US Adds 1,262 Virus Deaths In 24 Hours – Johns Hopkins

Boss Mustapha while addressing newsmen today noted that the PTF made some recommendations to the president and the extension of the current ease of lockdown was one of the inferences approved.

The PTF chairman further disclosed that to sustain gains already made in the last few weeks, the task force recommended to President Buhari to retain the current phase of the response, with minor changes to address economic, socio-political, and health concerns.

According to him, the major changes being proposed are aimed at achieving the gradual re-opening of international air flights within established parameters. re-opening of rail transportation within established parameters, and the granting of permissions to exit classes to resume ahead of examinations.

Under the revised guidelines of the eased lockdown which will be maintained in the next four weeks, the current nationwide curfew from 10pm- 6am still stands.

Also, meetings for government officials and parastatals will continue to hold virtually.

While the ban on entertainment centers will be maintained, restrictions on recreational parks have been lifted for non-contact physical activities.

Passengers arriving for domestic flights can now arrive at least an hour and a half before flight, and three hours before the flight for international travelers.

The SGF however, reemphasized the need for everyone to take responsibility, and stop the stigmatization of persons who have contracted, been treated, and have been certified negative for COVID-19.

Buhari Extends Phase Two Of Eased Lockdown By Four Weeks

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

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has extended phase two of eased lockdown by another four weeks with effect from tomorrow Tuesday, June 30 through midnight of Monday, July 27, 2020.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha made this known to State House correspondents after President Muhammadu Buhari was briefed on the status of the fight against COVID-19 in the country.

According to him, the extension has some modifications to the ease of lockdown protocols that allows inter-state travel outside the curfew hours which is 10: 00 pm to 4:00 am daily.

The second phase of the eased lockdown also allows students who are taking their final examinations to resume schools.

Next Pandemic Must Not Catch Us Unprepared – SGF

A file photo of the SGF, Boss Mustapha, addressing a press conference in Abuja.

 

 

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SFG), Mr Boss Mustapha, believes the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has offered Nigeria an opportunity to develop its internal capacity ahead of disease outbreak in the future.

He stressed the need for the nation to look inward and plan ahead, saying the COVID-19 pandemic would not be the last.

Mustapha, who is the Chairman of the Task Force on COVID-19, stated this on Monday while briefing reporters in Abuja.

He noted that the PTF visited the National Reference Laboratory to witness the processes for testing on Saturday last week.

According to him, the process is rigorous, thorough and demanding as an enormous sacrifice is being made by nurses, doctors and other medical personnel.

The PTF chairman explained that the visit also enabled the team listen to the challenges faced at the laboratory and to recognise such challenges as opportunities.

On the activities of the PTF in the last hundred days, he listed the achievements to include an increase in the number of laboratories.

He, however, decried that COVID-19 cases have continued to rise in the face of the successes recorded.

Mustapha noted that the last weekend brought the guidelines on religious centres to focus and urged worshippers to comply with the directive.

He, therefore, called on Nigerians to take responsibility by adhering to the health safety protocols to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Read the full speech of the SGF at the PTF briefing below:

REMARKS BY THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION/CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON COVID-19 AT THE NATIONAL BRIEFING OF MONDAY, 8th JUNE, 2020

PROTOCOLS

I welcome you all to the National Briefing for Monday, 8th June 2020.

​This briefing is significant because Nigeria on Saturday 6th June 2020, reached the milestone of 100 days since the index case was recorded. You will all recall that the index case was recorded on 27th February 2020.

The COVID-19 has taken the entire world by the storm because it has disrupted all known systems, including governance, economy, financial system, travels, and healthcare. Even the best of healthcare systems and arrangements succumbed to the force of the virus.

Within our national setting, the weaknesses inherent in our national healthcare systems were made glaring and needed urgent attention. Government determined immediately, to take on the lessons and to ensure that the healthcare system experienced tremendous leap in human and infrastructure development as well as policy focus, stability and direction.

​Within the 100 days under review, the following modest accomplishments were recorded:

  1. The number of laboratories in the COVID-19 network has increased from 2 to 30 – with a laboratory in every geopolitical zone in the country, providing increased access to testing.
  2. Over 80,000 tests have been conducted in the country.

iii. Over 13,000 health workers have been trained, increasing the human resource available for case management.

  1. More personal protective equipment and ventilators have been procured and prepositioned across the country.
  2. The number of beds available for isolation and case management has increased from 3000 beds to 5000 beds nationwide.
  3. Developed new guidelines for homecare and general case management;

vii. Evacuated over 1,000 Nigerians from different parts of the world while still reviewing the evacuation and quarantine protocols

viii. Enhanced the efficiency of the identification, testing, evacuation, and isolation process for confirmed cases;

  1. Gradually reopening the economy while balancing between lives and livelihood;
  2. A Mid-Action Review has been conducted in line with WHO guidelines, with lessons and recommendations being used to improve the response;
  3. Introduced Community Engagement and Risk Communication as critical factors that will help to flatten the curve in a sustainable manner;

xii. Engaged with development partners and the private sector to grow the capacity of the nation in the response;

xiii. Introduced several non-pharmaceutical interventions to slow down the spread of the virus.

There are several ongoing infrastructure interventions being made by government, development partners and the private sector nationwide.

 

​The last hundred days have also brought out the best in the spirit of Nigerians. There has been tremendous private sector and corporate mobilisation.

Similarly, individuals have also sacrificed their little savings for the good of all. What this underscore is the strength of our communal culture and unity in diversity. The PTF thanks everyone for giving hope in the face of a global pandemic, even when humanity seemed helpless.

​In spite of these accomplishments, Nigeria, like the rest of the world, has witnessed a steady rise in the number of infections. As at midnight on Sunday 7th June, Nigeria had the following statistics:

​​Confirmed cases: 12,486

​​Discharged:          3,959

​​Fatalities:               354

 

​Based on the trend, science, and data as guiding beacons, it has become obvious that Nigeria has entered the community transmission phase. This has significantly helped in identifying 20 high burden LGAs that accounts for over 60% of infections in Nigeria.

The PTF is already pursuing precision actions on these high burden LGAs. It is, therefore, important for Nigerians to recognise the need to take responsibility and the significant role community ownership and risk communication will play in the future of our National Response.

​Over the last weekend, the ease of restriction on places of worship came into focus. It is important to note that the guidelines gave states the latitude and the opportunity to negotiate protocols that meet their peculiarities.

We, therefore, urge our religious leaders and the entire populace to adhere to the guidelines issued by the PTF and the protocols agreed by the State Governments. The PTF continues to monitor compliance nationwide.

​The PTF wishes to emphasise that a great majority of Nigerians are still susceptible to COVID-19, and if we allow it to transmit easily between us, it may be even more deadly. If everyone diligently observes the guidelines, we can collectively control the spread of the virus, and help to protect our health facilities as well as save lives.

​On 6th June 2020, the PTF also visited the National Reference Laboratory to witness, first hand, the processes for testing. Experience, as it is said, is the best teacher. We can confirm that the process is rigorous, thorough and demanding. From the laboratories to the nurses, to our doctors and other medical personnel, enormous sacrifice is being made by these dedicated Nigerians.

​Ladies and Gentlemen, I have considered it important to reiterate the appreciation of the entire nation to all frontline workers who toil round the clock to ensure that we remain safe in this country. The visit has revealed the huge responsibilities shouldered by these young and committed professionals as well as the risks that they face on a daily basis.

​The visit also enabled the PTF listen to the challenges faced at the National Reference Lab and to recognise such challenges as opportunities because they represent motivations for action. The shortage of reagents and supply chain issues are global issues because the entire world is seeking to purchase the same commodities.

To the PTF, the motivation for action is to look inward, plan ahead and develop our domestic capacities. This is because COVID-19 is neither the first nor will it be the last pandemic. What is certain is that we must not allow the next pandemic to catch us unprepared.

The strategic thrust of the National Response is to test, test and test. However, the visit to the NRL has shown that while we ramp up capacity for testing, we must also enhance the skills and size of manpower to run the laboratories. Moving from two to a network of thirty technology-driven -laboratories and coordinating them is certainly not a small feat.

It is, therefore, significant to mention that a major outcome of the 100 days assessment is the recognition of the need for States to scale up responsibility for their public health response. In the medium to long term, we hope to build a network of state public health labs that will bring about sustainability in public health response in Nigeria.

​Since the commencement of our National Response, a lot of priority has been given to physical health management of people who are affected. I am pleased to inform you that PTF has commenced the process of integrating comprehensive psychological services program into its activities.

This will be for the benefit of people who are in isolation, the wellbeing of their families and communities. In this regard, we wish to recognise the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, FCT for spearheading this drive, which shall inevitably assume a national dimension because of the importance of mental health.

​As we mark the one hundred days after the index case, we remember all Nigerians who have passed away from the disease. We commiserate with their families and friends who have had to deal with the difficulty of losing their loved ones at this time. We pray that God will continue to console them and heal our land.

​At this point, ladies and gentlemen, the PTF appreciates the World Health Organisation (WHO), Africa Centres for Disease Control (Africa CDC), the West Africa Health Organisation, the United Nations family, the European Union and a host of other partners for the support we have received so far.

​Finally, I wish to state that in the absence of a vaccine, Nigeria and the rest of the world must depend on public health, social measures and supportive management of confirmed cases. We urge all Nigerians to take individual and collective responsibility by adhering to public health advice such as:

Frequent hand hygiene through handwashing or use of alcohol-based sanitizer;
Use of face mask in public places; and
Observe physical distancing of at least two metres.

​I now call on the Honourable Minister of Health, DG NCDC and the National Coordinator to update you, before we take the questions.

I thank you for listening.