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FG to launch new COVID-19 national action plan

..plans legalisation of mandatory use of face masks ...Calls for land borders vigilance

The Federal government on Monday said efforts are ongoing to launch the new Covid-19 health sector response action plan to mark a new medium and long term health sector response strategy to the challenge across all areas of health over the next 3 years period.

Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, speaking at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on the Coronavirus response PTF COVID-19, said the plan which is to be presented at the National Council of Health, will also apply to States for the development of States specific action plans to address state peculiarity.

Ehanire stated that ” some of the fatalities recorded may have been saved if they had arrived the isolation centers early enough, adding that ” we should also note that the clinical condition of covid 19 patient especially the elderly and those with underlying illnesses can change from mild to critical within such a short time”.

The Minster also announced that the Nigeria government has received consignment of medical supplies which is the first of the series of deliveries from the United Nation group in Nigeria and the European Union.

He said ”The donation is very reassuring to us as we can now make up our stock file and it is made up of various categories of testing and protective equipment, 547 oxygen concentrators, courtesy of the World Health Organization which are experienced in Nigeria shows they are more in use than ventilators.

“The confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Nigeria has surpassed the 20,000 mark over the weekend reaching 20,244 between yesterday and today, the highest number of daily diagnosed new cases at 745, over the past 24 hours”..

“While symptomatic treatment can be vital in preventing complications, close clinical observation in centers early enough can be decisive. “We therefore advise all hospitals to have the right index sustition and promptly refer suspected cases to designated treatment center, attempting to treat Covid-19 patients when not accredited is a waste of their time and put them in danger and also put others involved at risk, including other patients and personnel”.

The Presidential Task Force on Monday said it is working g closely with security institutions and stay governments on making acts of parliament that would make wearing of face masks madatory in the public.

This is coming on the heels of weak and persistence non compliance shown by a the greater members of the public to the coronavirus pandemic prevention protocols, the taskforce said .

Citing an instance in some parts of the South East,Sani Aliyu,the National Cordinator of the Presidential Task Force who announced the plans during daily briefing on Monday stated that,”Survey checks revealed that 60 percent of people in some parts of South East did not believe that the COVID pandemic is an issue at all.We clearly are not taking the issue of the pandemic serious enough.”

The National Cordinator also expressed deep concern that there is a partial to total non- compliance to face masks and physical distancing protocols by the public,despite the PTF warning that the pandemic has entered an exponential spread in the country.

Aliyu stated that it is riskier to go out now than few months back on the rising community transmission said it is also important that Nigerians continue to adhere strictly to hygiene protocols approved by health authorities,to avoid contracting the virus .

The PTF also on Monday said the arrest of two foreigners weekend, raised fears that the virus are being imported into the country through the Nigeria land borders

Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Coroñavirus response, Boss Mustapha, dropped the hint at the daily briefing in Abuja, noting that the Nigerian Immigration Service vigilance however resulted in the apprehension of two foreigners who tried to enter the country illegally over the week-end.

Nigeria has continued to witness increase in cases culminating in a total of 20, 244 confirmed cases, as at Sunday, 21st June, despite all efforts.

The number has increased from the 442 cases, in April to 5,621 cases in May and now 2020:17, 148 cases

In Africa, WHO has reported that South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana have proportionately been the most affected countries on the continent of Africa.

Mustapha stated that ” All these, combined, represent a serious wake up call for us all to be responsive and to take full responsibility.”

He disclosed that the first batch of equipment supplies under the One UN Basket fund and the European Union was recy during the weekend

” These supplies included Personal Protection Equipment, testing kits and laboratory equipment. I want to use this opportunity to thank the partners of the One UN Basket and look forward to receiving the second batch of these supplies. Their commitment greatly shows that partnership is the most important ingredient needed to overcome this pandemic globally.

He thanked WHO for the donation of Oxygen concentrators, which he said “has become very vital for case management”

Mustapha said the PTF also identified lack of information about case definition protocols, location of testing centres, inability to reach call centres, etc as obstacles to getting needed help, adding that ” the PTF has therefore directed that more awareness be created on the location of test centres and how to get tested especially when you fit the case definition.

” The call centres are also being re-energized for responsiveness. Our messaging on risk communication and compliance by the public will also receive very strong attention. We must develop a national wave of awareness creation to drive home our objectives.


Tony Ailemen, Cynthia Egboboh, Harrison Edeh, Abuja

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