The Presidential Taskforce (PTF) on COVID-19 has urged Nigerians to avoid non-essential travels, especially foreign ones to vulnerable countries.
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who made the appeal at the body’s briefing yesterday in Abuja, advised the citizenry to always observe extant safety protocols as the festive season approaches.
“This is a sacrifice we must make to preserve lives,” he said.
He said the advice has become necessary given the threat posed to Nigeria by the spiralling infections in nations with which “we have strong political, business, social and family relations, and considering the high volume of travels between Nigeria and these countries, which also determines the risk.”
The minister said available statistics indicate a possible COVID-19 spike that could come from trip and holidaying abroad with the concomitant high fatality rate.
Ehanire advised the elderly and persons with delicate health should to stay indoors and shun public gathering.
He said: “The PTF will continue to review protocols at our points of entry, to be responsive to changing scenarios. Under no condition should we be lulled into complacency, because, as the WHO Director General advises, nobody is safe till we are all safe.”
The minister said the country hopes to reduce case fatality by strengthening “our capacity to manage cases, but it is only possible if persons test themselves early once they have symptoms or have been in contact with a suspected case, and also if all who test positive present themselves immediately for evaluation by experts, who will prescribe your treatment based on that, either at home or in a facility, depending on the severity, vulnerability, need for care or other criteria.”
He added that all cases, whether home-based or institutional, are to be supervised by medical personnel.
Also speaking, the PTF chairman, Boss Mustapha, stated that humanity had been under siege of the virus, observing: “We cannot afford to relax our security even as we mount a national response.”
He noted in Africa, Nigeria ranks fifth for both the highest cumulative cases and deaths.