REMARKS BY THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION/CHAIRMAN OF THE PTF-COVID-19 AT THE NATIONAL PRESS BRIEFING OF MONDAY, 27TH JULY, 2020
I welcome you all to the National Briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 for Monday, 27th July, 2020.
- You will recall that we briefed the nation on the 29th of June, 2020 sequel to the approval of Mr. President for the extension of phase two of the eased lockdown by another four weeks. That extension is due to expire on Wednesday 29th July, 2020 having commenced on June 30th 2020.
- The PTF has continued to evaluate the developments as well as the level of compliance nationwide and has regrettably come to the inevitable conclusion that majority of Nigerians irrespective of status, creed and level of education continue to live in denial on the virulent nature of the virus and consistently breach the guidelines and non-pharmaceutical measures put in place.
- We informed you two weeks ago that the process of submitting the 6th Interim Report and recommendations for next steps had commenced. The PTF has reached advanced stages of the process. It has also considered that due to the upcoming Sallah (Eid El-Kabir) festivities which coincides with the expiration of the current phase, it would be prudent to extend by one week, from 29th July, 2020 till Thursday 6th August, 2020. It has accordingly secured permission to retain the existing guidelines till that date.
- Considering the importance of international air travel to the economy, the PTF and the Aviation Sector are working hard to fast track reopening of the international airspace. Most importantly, the arrival protocols for passengers on in-bound flights are being firmed up for seamless testing and detection. Relevant MDAs will be holding further consultations.
- The COVID-19 remains very virulent and very dangerous. Current statistics show the following:
(i) Global Cases Recorded:16,380,397 cases from 215 countries,
Global Deaths: 651,198
Global Recoveries: 10,093,403
WHO statistics show that on 24th July, 2020 the world recorded 284,000 confirmed cases and 9,750 deaths. Both were records in terms of the spike in daily numbers and they represent a red flag to all nations.
- Our analysis has shown that people over 50 years of age especially those with underlying factors remain most at risk. This position is backed by the fact that 65% of fatalities recorded in Nigeria are in this category. That brings me to the need to appeal to Nigerians on the need for a change of behavior and compliance with guidelines and measures put in place. If you do not need to go outside your home, please stay indoors. Avoid large gatherings and observe all the measures.
- In recent times, our risk communication teams have developed messages aimed at resonating very well with different demographic groups. The common string is the message for compliance and the proper wearing of face masks and coverings in public spaces. The National Coordinator will be elaborating further on this.
- As we prepare for the Eid El Kabir celebration, we also want to urge all our Muslim Brothers and Sisters and indeed all Nigerians to continue to observe all measures. We note with delight, the increasing number of States that have shelved activities during the Eid-el-kabir and we still urge others yet to do so, to follow suit. WHO has also issued Safe Eid practices in the context of COVID-19 and I urge us all to access and disseminate. The National coordinator will also elaborate on this.
- Similarly, the PTF appreciates the Nigeria Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), who has always been a great champion in the fight against the pandemic for advising Muslims to avoid massive gatherings at Eid grounds and pray at Area Mosques under prescribed protocols.
- Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to inform you that the PTF is making steady progress in bringing more states within the national network and reporting system. This will greatly enhance the outcome of the COVID-19 national response and will be more beneficial to the citizens of those States and the country in general.
- I now invite the Honorable Minister of Health, the DG NCDC and the NC to present their updates.
- I thank you all for listening.