The Federal Government has warned that it may review its decision to reopen worship centres if the guidelines set are not complied with.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, at the briefing of the PTF on Thursday, noted that the national guidelines had been shared with the states.
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He said the Federal Government expected that the protocols would be agreed to by religious leaders.
“Compliance is important so as to avoid unwanted consequences that put the lives of people at risk of contracting COVID19.
“We urge the utmost caution at all times.
“The PTF will continue to monitor the overall compliance with the easing of restriction as well as the evolution of the outbreak.
“However, we’ll not hesitate to review as we progress, should the situation warrant, to avoid preventable risks of transmission.
“The response needs to be decentralized to the local government level, identifying high burden LGAs and ensuring mapping of adequate support to rapidly trace, test and treat cases.”
He said states needed to drive aggressive campaigns to engage communities in order to address behaviour change and debunk misconceptions and stigma, adding that traditional and religious institutions had a role to play in sensitizing communities about COVID 19.
Mustapha advised Nigerians against self-medication despite the World Health Organisation’s resumption of its clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine.
The SGF reiterated the need for Nigerians to take personal responsibility.
COVID-19 patients’ refusal to stay in isolation
He said the PTF had received reports on citizens refusing to help with contact tracing as well as going into isolation after testing positive.
He said, “A number of fatalities have been recorded due to change in the condition of patients while staying outside the isolation facilities.
“Our appeal is that if agents of the state get in touch with you regarding testing, contact tracing activities, please cooperate
“Also, let us be prepared to be quarantined and monitor our health for the onset of symptoms because it is important for us to break the chain of transmission and prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in our dear country.”
He said the guidelines exempted the agricultural value chain from the restrictions put in place to guarantee a seamless flow of agricultural activities.
“It is therefore important that we do everything possible to guarantee our food security by supporting our hardworking farmers to function. I, therefore, appeal to all the various task forces and security personnel at the sub-national levels to ensure easy passage of these inputs to our farmers,” he said.
New guidelines for discharge of patients
Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said: “The symptomatic patients will now be discharged at least 10 days after symptom onset and at least three days without symptoms; while asymptomatic patients can be discharged 14 days after the first PCR positive test.
“We no longer have to wait for a negative test to discharge, with confidence that you can go home and you’re no longer infective or putting family or friends at risk. If your symptoms last for longer, we’ll wait while managing.”
He noted that the centre had also removed the use of antivirals like chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine from its treatment guidelines, saying the antivirals would now be used only “on trials and also casually because its safety is uncertain.
“The treatment protocol remains to manage symptoms, pre-existing conditions, supplemental oxygen therapy to different extents, treatment of bacterial infections and ensuring that patients are well nourished and well hydrated.”