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FG worries over protests, abscondment from isolation centres

The Federal Government is worried about challenges that have besieged isolation centres for Covid-19 nationwide, from protests over welfare and abscondment from centres to loud…

The Federal Government is worried about challenges that have besieged isolation centres for Covid-19 nationwide, from protests over welfare and abscondment from centres to loud complaints on grounds that drugs must be given to people under observation.

“The first two are unhealthy developments capable of undermining the containment measures and putting the lives of care managers and frontline workers at risk. Similarly, persons in isolation are encouraged to follow the direction and instructions of the experts during their stay as treatment to be administered would largely depend on the evaluation of the doctor,” said Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.

He spoke on Thursday in Abuja at the 27th joint national briefing of the committee.

He however urge all state governments to continue to pay attention to the welfare of people in isolation and for security agencies to provide adequate security around such facilities to prevent escape.

He said the PTF continues to monitor the level of compliance with the guidelines issued under Phase One of the eased restrictions and that it is important that the appeal to all Nigerians to fully comply with the guidelines be sustained because these are unusual times and the seemingly calm atmosphere should to be construed as a return to normalcy.

He said that non-compliance is manifesting in several ways and could be costly in the future.

“Reports from various parts of the country at the close of day yesterday 6th May, 2020 indicate the high level of non-compliance with the ban on inter-state travels. This resulted in a high number of vehicles finding their way across many state borders despite the curfew/ border restrictions.

“Lack of respect for timing and the curfew also resulted in heavy traffic gridlock where many motorists spent the night following the enforcement of the curfew; increasing level of abuse of exemption granted to vehicles conveying specified goods. Reports across the country show that they continue to hide passengers with the intention of ferrying them across state boundaries; and continual transportation of Almajiris across state borders is still evident,” he added.

Seeding the virus

The SGF said he highlighted the foregoing as it relates to the road transportation sector to underscore the dangers inherent in the seeding of the virus across states.

He, however, commended the security agencies for their vigilance in apprehending and prosecuting violators, but also expressed worry on reports received about isolated cases of compromise by some security operatives.

“We urge the various commands of the security agencies to enhance their monitoring machinery to ensure that we do not only achieve the objective of stopping the spread of the virus but also prevent the good name of the services from being tarnished. We also implore all Nigerians to alert the security agencies whenever they witness the violation of these guidelines.

“It is important to remember that this is a war in which every Nigerian is a combatant and must resist any effort by a few individuals or groups, to endanger our collective survival,” he said.

Mustapha said the extension of the ban on all flights for additional four weeks takes effect from Thursday night and that government will continue to give exemptions for flights in circumstances that are considered essential.

While noting that the first batch of 256 Nigerian evacuees arrived from the United Arab Emirates into Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos on Wednesday, and that in accordance with the established protocol, all evacuees have been taken into 14-day isolation at designated facilities in Lagos State.

“The NCDC will conduct appropriate tests to determine their status within the period of isolation. The PTF is finalizing arrangements for similar evacuation from other parts of the world and you would be adequately briefed on developments,” he said.

He commended Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwa-Olu, for his support in identifying and securing the facility for the mandatory 14-day isolation of these returnees.

Local cures

Mustapha also noted that there have been claims of inventions and cures related to COVID-19 and that the PTF, as part of its mandate, remains supportive of and receptive to outcomes of research.

“It however finds it imperative to re-iterate its position on the need for such discoveries to undergo the scientific validation processes.

“The PTF is aware that the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Department, of the Federal Ministry of Health, has been evaluating such claims and forwarded some that have met the preliminary requirements to the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to carry out the necessary procedures for listing,” he said.

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