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COVID-19: Buhari says Nigeria will triumph over pandemic, as he receives report of Presidential Task Force

…As NCDC tackles community spread

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday declared that Nigeria will triumph over the Coronavirus pandemic currently ravaging the world, as he received the report of the country’s task force on the control of the virus.

The President through his verified twitter handle on Friday said: “The Presidential Task Force on Control of COVID-19 briefed me today. I remain very grateful for the hard work that they are putting into this national assignment. I have no doubt that with all these efforts, Nigeria will triumph over this pandemic.”

On the expectation from Nigerians on when the lockdown imposed on the country in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman President Taskforce (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha had declared that the decision to extend or end lockdown lies with President Muhammadu Buhari.

Read also: Coronavirus hits 224 in Nigeria as NCDC records 10 new cases and one more death

Mustapha said this while fielding questions at the daily briefing of the PTF on COVID-19. He said: “The decision to extend the  lockdown or not is exclusively the decision or the responsibility of the President. Ours is to provide him with the background information that will inform that decision.”

He also said the Federal Government is working hard to bring Nigerians in other countries back.

“It is the responsibility of the Nigerian government to protect our citizens wherever they are. If it is their desire to return home, we will also work towards facilitating that for them to come back home.

“A lot of discussions are going on; we ask the Diaspora Commission to network and get our people wherever they are through the embassies so that we can have a comprehensive list of those that are to return,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Health Osagie Ehanire while fielding questions said that even as the figures of confirmed cases are increasing, Nigeria is not doing badly compared to figures from other countries particularly when extrapolated it with Nigeria’s population.

“We are not out of the woods yet; the problem can still be very serious and we still have a long way to go and more hard work to do.  We are not having as many fatalities as other countries but we are extremely committed to push further,” he added.

Ehanire also said that the team from China is composed of experts who came to assist Nigeria tackle the virus. He however noted that they are under quarantine and the Nigeria Center For Disease Control (NCDC) had inspected the compound where they are being quarantined before they even came.  He added that the NCDC will have access to inspect them all the time.

He noted that Nigeria’s main concern at the moment is to learn know the strategies and tactics the Chinese applied to deal with the virus.    “We want to know how they dealt with the problem, which is part of our own preparedness  to help our people tackle the problem. They have the experience and they can help us with the experience,” he added.

He also informed that whatever the Chinese brought would have to be certified by the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).  “Let me also remind you that what they brought to us are gifts. We did not pay for it they paid for the transport and for the shipping to come here,” he said.

Also fielding questions on the issue of community spread of the virus, the Director General of the NCDC Chikwe Ihekweazu, said: “We are seeing early indications of community transmission; that is why we said that about 30% of the patients we have not figured out how they got their infections.

“But we are working extremely hard to track this.  The purpose of the lockdown is to enable us confirm and are following up to 91% of all the contacts of all the confirmed cases,” he added.

He also apologized for the mix up in the number of confirmed cases in Bauchi state which he said remains for and not six cases as erroneously announced yesterday.

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