The Federal Government on Thursday took stock of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic vis a vis the attitude of Nigerians to embracing safety precautions, and concluded that the country is now at a tipping point.
This came as government announced its decision to establish oxygen plants in all states of the federation as part of measures to resolve the “oxygen crisis” that has engulfed some of the isolation and treatment centres in the country.
Chairman, Presidential Taskforce PTF on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Mr. Boss Mustapha who disclosed this at a briefing of the Taskforce on Thursday however lamented that many Nigerians seeking to travel out of the country are presenting fake COVID-19 test results.
He said; “We must be very aggressive with our communication because we are at a tipping point; the more people are infected, the more the rate of hospitalizations will go up and we will run out of bed spaces and correspondingly, people who have other ailments will not be able to assess healthcare.
“So, people will be dying of COVID-19 and people will be dying of other ailments. There will be a strain on medical personnel and right now, our medical front-liners are under intense pressure to meet the needs of patients who are infected with COVID-19. So, we are at a tipping point and my plea to Nigerians is that we must arrest this transmission and that is why we are looking at developing health regulations which would be of universal applications across all states and we have convinced the states today at our meeting that it must be backed up with enforcement through their local regulations and laws”.
Mustapha added that efforts are being made to increase the supply of oxygen to health facilities across the country.
“Mr. President has approved the establishment of at least one new Oxygen plant in each state of the Federation, while the existing ones will be made fully functional. We continue to thank the Private Sector initiative as well as the Nigerian Air Force for their continued support.
“The PTF is working to develop new Health Protection Regulations to support existing COVID-19 protocols and to strengthen compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions across the country”, the SGF added.
Mustapha said it has become embarrassing to note that some Nigerians continue to present fake results when travelling outside the shores of the country.
“This remains a major source of concern to the Federal Government. The PTF has directed private laboratories to immediately put in place measures to validate results and ensure that all passengers are registered on the travel portal before samples are processed to stop this activity. The National Coordinator will elaborate on this during this briefing.
“The PTF is aware that the world is at a critical phase of infections. We are constantly reviewing our strategy to emerging situations especially in risk communication, vaccine hesitancy, fake news/disinformation”, he stated.
Minister of state, Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora on his parts said the Federal Government is determined to ensure morbidity due to COVID-19 is reduced to the barest minimum while improving on the fatality rate, adding that ppropriate measures are being taken to achieve this objective.
He said a second phase assessment of the isolation and treatment centres country-wide to verify challenges is to be carried out immediately.
“This is to enable us provide appropriate intervention measures required to strengthen these centres.
“We are not unmindful of our obligations to our health workers particularly those in the frontline. We appreciate them and urge Nigerians to encourage them in this challenging pandemic situation so that they can continue to give their best.
“We are working very hard to get vaccines for our people. It may not come soon enough, therefore we need to be alive to get the vaccines when they come”, he added.
- Read original copy in Vanguard.