PTF gives N1bn each to states to support Covid-19 fight
***urges more testing, says relaxation could spike up cases
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 Monday said 34 states across the country had received N1billion each from the federal government to support the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, explaining that the federal government has laid out procedures on how such funds should be spent.
The Secretary of the Government of the Federation and chairman of the Presidential Task Force, Boss Mustafa, who gave the information on Monday at the Presidential Task Force briefing also informed that the federal government had earlier supported Lagos states and Kano States with N10billion and N5billion respectively.
The PTF have expressed concerns over Nigerians inability to embrace testing, saying that there are 69 accredited NCDC laboratories where people could work and get tested free across the country.
The PTF raised further concern that non conformity to non pharmaceutical interventions as prescribed by the NCDC and world health organisation could see Nigeria returning back to the the earlier stage of the virus in the country.
“The numbers are going down,but the virus is not going away. We must test more. We’re not convinced we are flattening the curve. People needs to test more.
Sani Aliyu, the National Cordinator of the Presidential Task Force who gave this information on Monday urged Nigerians who go for test in accredited laboratories across the country,whith an emphasis that test is free.
“Covid tests in Nigeria are free unless you’re testing for the purpose for travelling. No public laboratories can charge for covid test at the moment and payment apply to only private laboratories.
“Those with symptoms of cough,loss of smell,or you have come in contact with a positive person,go for testing.
“Also, consider testing if you are among the vulnerable groups,particularly if you are above the age of 60 or you have an underlining conditions or also looking after someone who has covid or has exposed yourself.”
He observed however that less than 50 percent of Nigerians say they would get tested if they have exposed themselves to coronavirus.This according to him, is a worrying number for the federal government , noting that,”What this suggests is that there may be a large number of persons who may be positive without knowing it.'”
“If you notice you cannot pay for a test,note that there are 69 laboratories certified by the NCDC and all of them provide free test.
Speaking further,he said,”We’ve released money to money to the state governments, which each state government was given a billion naira which is for the purpose of driving the covid responses and we are urging them to priortise testing in addition for the surveillance activities of the covid 19.”
The national cordinator urged state governments to publicise their sample collection locations,so that people can access the test.
“Compliance to non pharmaceuticals is low,and if you are among the vulnerable group please protect yourself.
Over 1000 has died regrettably he said,urging those who have had personal experience with the pandemic to assist in the advocacy against the spread of the virus.