PTF CRIES OUT OVER LOW TESTING RATE FOR CORONAVIRUS

From Bolaji Ogundele and Moses Emorinken, Abuja

 

THE Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 pandemic has expressed concerns on recent low testing rate in the country.

Its Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr. Boss Mustapha raised the concern yesterday during the task force’s media briefing in Abuja.

He, however, warned Nigerians against nonchalance and skepticism to the spread of the virus, reminding all that COVID-19 is still real and a killer.

“The situation of COVID-19 in Nigeria continues to give the PTF serious concern, especially as it relates to testing. In the week leading to Nigeria’s 60th Independence anniversary, we noticed the drop in the number of confirmed cases and a further reduction in the number of states reporting new confirmed cases, while the rest of the world continue to declare high numbers of cases and fatalities.

“Brazil has indeed crossed five million confirmed cases and recorded over 150,000 fatalities. Other countries like France, Israel, Italy, Britain, etc are reintroducing more restrictions and measures to curtail the spread of the pandemic in their countries. In order to ramp up testing, the full implementation of the national testing week will be confirmed shortly.

“On the African continent, 10,615 cases were reported from 36 countries leading to a cumulative total case count of 1,545,099, including 37,153 deaths. Globally, over the last few days, 5,909 deaths were reported from 102 countries and territories worldwide, with South America (largely Brazil) accounting for 26% (1,510 deaths) of all deaths reported in the last 24 hours. Cumulatively, 1,060,002 COVID-19 deaths have been reported worldwide. The global CFR has gradually declined to 2.9%.

“Although Nigeria is no longer in the top five countries by cumulative deaths in Africa, the PTF continues to urge Nigerians to change their attitude of scepticism and nonchalance to the virus,” he said.

The Federal Government also yesterday expressed worries about the importation of the COVID-19 virus into the country by travellers from countries with high burden of the disease.

Minister of Health Dr. Osagie Ehanire announced that 22 persons have so far tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19), among the 1,473 persons of interest tested since the reopening of the nation’s international airspace.

Ehanire, who stated this at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing yesterday in Abuja, said the persons were among the passengers who recently returned from overseas.

The risks that the movement of travellers create can only be countered with improved surveillance programmes.

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