From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

 

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 pandemic (PTF), on Thursday officially declared the second wave of the virus in Nigeria.

The Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha, made the disclosure while briefing the media.

Represented by by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, the SGF who is still in self-isolation in total compliance to the PTF own rules and regulations, as some members of his family tested positive to COVID-19, said Nigeria has entered a second wave of infections and stands the risk of not just losing the gains from the hard work of the last nine months but also not losing the precious lives of our citizens.

Mustapha said the PTF believes that “if we do the right things, adhere to the Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) and step up our testing and detection, loss of lives will be minimized and the rising curve will begin to flatten out.”

According to him, while the country in the last two weeks on the one hand, received cheering news of the COVID-Vaccine on the other hand, “we have witnessed spikes in number of infections at home and abroad. The real threat is upon humanity and the progress made in the global health sector in the last five decades or more.”

He said Nigeria’s cumulative numbers in the last weeks of 49-51 showed: “Week 49 – 1,843; Week 50 – 3,918 and Week 51 (Mon-Wed): 1,889.

The SGF said: “It is also considered important to avail Nigerians the global situation in the last three days, Global cases crossed the 74 million mark, now at 74,516,681; USA crossed the 17 million mark; The WHO Africa Region has crossed the 1.6 million cases mark; Global CFR declined to 2.2%, while the WHO Africa region’s CFR remains at 2.2 %; USA continues to record high daily case incidence of over 248,686 cases daily; and on the WHO Africa region, Nigeria ranks 5th for both highest cumulative cases and highest cumulative deaths.

“The foregoing analysis which will be elaborated upon by the Hon. Minister of health and the National Coordinator respectively is to remind all Nigerians that: we are in a potentially difficult phase of the COVID-19 resurgence; Accessing the hope offered by the arrival of the vaccine is still some time ahead; That vaccines alone cannot cure the virus, rather, a combination of initiatives including the NPIs; That more than ever before, we need compliance; That we shall escalate our risk communication and community engagement strategies to higher levels; Lives have been lost but we must slow down the pace of the spread; and At the rate at which the numbers are rising should be examined and that our vigilance and compliance with the NPIs should be intensified.”

Mustapha said the PTF held the end of term technical session last week Tuesday will be submitting the final report to President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said the technical session afforded the PTF the opportunity to assess the progress made and the present dangers that confront us.

He said: “The Report of the PTF will be submitted to the President on Tuesday, 22nd December, 2020. Current realities however point to the fact that the course of further opening up of the economy may have to be reviewed.

“The festive season is here and we remain conscious of the fact that large gathering events will take place. It is our strong advice that all non-essential trips be cancelled outrightly. We also urge citizens to avoid large gathering events.

“Before I invite the Hon Minister of Health, I wish to state that for the first time since March, the Chairman of the PTF is absent from the briefing. As you are already aware, he is self-isolating out of abundance of caution and in line with our protocols. We wish him safety and we wish the members of his family, quick recovery.”