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COVID-19: Presidential Task Force again raises alarm over non-compliance to guidelines, blames spike in figures to enhanced testing

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Thursday bemoaned the widespread lack of compliance with guidelines and regulations, asking Nigerians to avoid skepticism and ignorance about the virus.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the PTF, Mr Boss Mustapha, told journalists in Abuja that Nigerians should be aware that the virus has spread widely in the communities.

Mustapha reiterated that the increased numbers of COVID-19 positive cases in the country is linked to increased testing capacity.

The SGF regretted that tracing and testing of cases had been made more difficult because of the fear of stigmatization had been preventing people from coming out to seek help.

According to Mustapha, “the PTF also continued to assess the developments nationwide and found that non-compliance has been largely fueled by skepticism and ignorance about the disease. We also noted that stigmatization has further impacted on the willingness of people to come out to seek help and even tell their stories. The nature of this pandemic demands that we must detect and treat it in order to address it. 

“Let me emphasise, therefore, that COVID-19 is not a condition to be ashamed of as it has no respect for status, nationality, race, creed, tribe, etc. Every person infected must be treated to prevent spread and avoidable fatalities. You would have noticed that the number of confirmed cases and fatalities  released in the last few days have been on the high side. While we attribute this to increased testing, it also goes to confirm the extent of the spread within our communities, especially the twenty-one (21) high burden LGAs identified as accounting for over 60% of infections nationwide.”

The SGF, regretting that hospitals were still rejecting patients, pleaded with them to stop the rejections but to follow protocols issued for containment of the disease.

“We continue to plead with these hospitals not to reject patients but to follow the protocols for managing COVID-19 while receiving them and most importantly, to seek necessary accreditation from the Ministry of Health and NCDC to manage COVID-19 cases”, he said.

Mustapha also said the PTF would be approaching President Muhammadu Buhari at the weekend to submit its assessment of the success or otherwise of the national response efforts, as well as giving him their recommendations and urged Nigerians to await the next step in the fight against the disease.

“I wish to inform you that by the end of this week, the PTF would be submitting a report containing our assessment and recommendations to Mr. President. We therefore urge Nigerian to await next steps.

“In furtherance of the collaboration with sub-national entities, the PTF joined the Nigerian Governors Forum in a virtual meeting yesterday, to evaluate the progress made. The outcomes of the discussions will be factored into the decision under the next steps”, he said.

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