Mr Boss Mustapha, the Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, says the team will conclude its assessment on the impact of measures put in place for the easing of lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the country within the next 70 hours.
Mustapha, who doubles as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), disclosed this at the PTF daily briefing on Thursday in Abuja.
He said that when concluded the recommendations would be submitted to the President for a decision.
The SGF decried the continued refusal by medical institutions including federal tertiary institutions to receive and treat patients for fear of COVID-19.
He lamented that the development had resulted in several unfortunate and avoidable fatalities.
He noted that Nigeria was having more deaths from non-attendance to other diseases than COVID-19, adding that the reason for the greater emphasis on COVID-19 is because it is a pandemic that has the capacity of wiping out a large segment of Nigerians.
He urged all the Chief Medical Directors and private health service providers to attend to other health challenges, which continued to confront Nigerians on a daily basis.
He stressed that the guidelines for dealing with patients presenting COVID-19 like symptoms were available and if these were applied by the medical service providers, there would be lesser risks of exposure to the virus.
“Statistics has shown that there is a drastic drop in the percentage of attention being paid to other ailments not related to COVID-19.
“This situation is made worse by the fact that federal tertiary institutions have been mentioned among those rejecting patients for fear of COVID.
“This not acceptable. We are saddened by this development.
“The Minister of Health has reached out to all medical directors directing them to continue providing regular medical services so that we do not end up with avoidable deaths.
“Truth be told, we are having more deaths from non-attendance to other diseases than even COVID-19.
“The reason for the greater emphasis on COVID-19 is because it is a pandemic and if not curtailed has a capacity of wiping out large segments of our population,” he said.
He noted that the national response was collaborating with all necessary stakeholders and supporting sub-national entities in their individual state responses, which they always maintain should be in synergy with the National Response.
Mustapha said that this point was further underscored by the statistics coming from other parts of the world as a look at the global numbers showed that the world has recorded 5,778,551 cases and 356,722 deaths reporting from 251 countries.
The SGF said that of particular note was the fact that a major nation reached the landmark of crossing beyond the 100,000 deaths, in a system where the healthcare system was regarded as advanced, adding that the shift in the epi-centre from Europe and the United States of America to South America, particularly, Brazil.
“The significance of the Brazil case resides in the similarities between Africa and South America which calls for caution.
“The PTF, therefore, wishes to underscore the need to press further in the development of our infrastructure, intensify our non-pharmaceutical response, the need for our citizens to comply more and for our communities to get more involved.
“We say again, we cannot afford to be complacent, continue as if we are not under threat, doubt the virulent nature of COVID-19 and continue to allow the virus to ravage our communities because we are fully in the community phase of the spread,” he added.
Mustapha said that the PTF had expanded the scope of collaboration and experience sharing to the ECOWAS in line with the role of Mr President as the ECOWAS COVID 19 Champion.
He said that the interface through the West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO) would be deepened as part of the short, medium and long-term objectives for controlling the pandemic, noting that the essence of this regional effort s underscored by the huge population of Nigeria and the trade activities across the borders.
The PTF chairman, however, appealed to Nigerians to take the fight against COVID-19 with utmost diligence for self, family and the whole community.