PTF Chairman blames festivities for rising COVID-19 cases

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Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr. Boss Mustapha, has attributed the rising COVID-19 infections in the last few days to the effect of the activities during the Christmas and New Year festivities.
Specifically, he noted the 1,204 highest number ever recorded since the national response began was on Monday, January 4.
Mustapha who stated these at yesterday’s media briefing in Abuja said:
“Yesterday, January 4, 2021, we recorded 1,204 infections. This was the highest daily number ever recorded since we commenced the national response.
“From our analysis, we are beginning to see the effect of activities carried out during the Christmas festivities. We can only hope that numbers will not escalate beyond control. We however, still appeal to all citizens to take full responsibility through compliance and vigilance.”
He added that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of at least one oxygen plant in each state of the federation to aid gas available for life support for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) patients.
He said: “As we have always maintained, testing is a key strategy under the national response. To this end we can report that there are about 100 laboratories across the country. These are 71 public labs; 22 private labs and seven corporate labs. Collectively, they are to help improve testing in the country.
“Regrettably, however, there is still very low testing in a number of states. For clarity, the DG NCDC will elaborate on the spheres of responsibility in testing and the Federal Government has sufficiently supported the States to enable them support surveillance and IPC.”
He lamented that some persons still have doubts about the existence of COVID-19. “To overcome some of these challenges, the PTF will intensify the risk communication and community engagement to create awareness. The share level of doubts about the virus is alarming and I call on every one to become advocates in support of the National Response,” he said.
Mustapha said the PTF had begun sanctioning violators of international flights protocols in the country, adding that not less than 20,000 inbound passengers, who had violated the protocols had been penned for sanctions. He said their identities would be published weekly.
He said: I wish to confirm that the PTF has commenced the sanctions on passengers who defaulted on day-7 post arrival tests. Their passport numbers have been published and travel restriction imposed for a period of six months, effective January 1, 2021.
“Let me categorically state that the PTF has generated over 20,000 inbound passengers that have also defaulted. The publication will continue weekly till it is exhausted.”

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