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COVID-19: FG to release rapid test-kits in Abuja

SGF Boss Mustapha

The Federal Government has said that the pilot exercise on the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test-Kits (RDTs) will be rolled out in five tertiary health institutions in Abuja.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Boss Mustapha said this on Monday at the joint national briefing of the taskforce.

According to him, this would be done next week.

Mustapha said that the current wave of infections is swift and virulent and that no one knows 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,” Mustapha warned.

The PTF Chairman lamented that reports 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 stated; the three days preceding the 8th, each recorded over 700,000 cases; global cases have now reached 90,676,320 mark.

“Global fatality count is fast approaching the 2 million mark; the global CFR has declined from 2.2 to 2.1 percent; the CFR for Africa has also declined from 2.3 to 2.2 percent; and the WHO African region crossed 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,” Mustapha said.

According to him, realistically, if the numbers are estimated and the numbers missed, the numbers would be in a much higher region.

He also said that there is no state in Nigeria that is immune to this pandemic even if reports are not coming out of such States.

Why Nigeria cases on the rise

The SGF said that factors that have contributed to rise in numbers from late November 2020 included increased local and international travels, business and religious activities, re-opening of schools without strict compliance with COIVID-19 safety measures.

He added that the import of the fore-going is to press further on the need for Nigerians to elevate the level of vigilance and compliance with the recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs).

He said, “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.”

He said that the PTF has continued to receive inquiries about the issue of testing before travelling out of Nigeria, and explained that the Protocol in Nigeria requires in-bound passengers to test, not more than 96 hours, before boarding flights to Nigeria.

He added, “However, for passengers leaving Nigeria, it remains the responsibility of travelers to confirm the requirements of the country of destination and that of the carrier of choice.

“The additional requirements for passengers coming from the United Kingdom and South Africa also remain in force.

“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 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.”

He added that as part of measures to deepen community engagement and enforcement of protocols, the PTF met with the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) last week and will be meeting with key religious and traditional leaders soon and will similarly meet with the security agencies.

“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,” he said.

He also said that the third stream of NYSC members will resume on 18th January and the PTF is working closely with the management to ensure that participants get tested and protocols complied with.