DANIELS G. O
REMARKS BY THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION/CHAIRMAN OF THE PTF-COVID-19 AT THE NATIONAL PRESS BRIEFING OF MONDAY 24th AUGUST, 2020
I welcome you all to the National Briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 for Monday, 24th August, 2020.
2.Last week Thursday, we informed you that Nigeria had crossed the 50,000 mark of confirmed cases. Yesterday Sunday, 23rd August, we reached the unenviable record of 1,000 fatalities. We wish to restate that these records are not just numbers as they vividly remind us of the dangers that we still face. May the souls of all those that have lost the battle against CVID-19 rest in peace.
3.The PTF has however continued to study the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) and we note that it has been on a steady decline over the last few months.
April 30: 3%
May 31: 2.8%
June 30: 2.3%
July 31: 2.0%
Aug 22: 1.92%
We are however convinced that our sample collection is still low. We therefore encourage States to ramp up their testing and to declare correct results because early detection will ultimately translate to treatment and ultimately leveling of the curve.
4.With our statistics standing at CASES: 52,227, FATALITIES: 1,002 and RECOVERIES: 38,945, however, Nigeria maintains the 4th highest cumulative cases in the continent. Sadly, the global cases have increased by another 1 million from 22.5 million on 19th to the current 23.5 million in about 4 days.
5.The PTF has already informed you about the plans to reopen the international airspace for flights in a manner that will promote safety, security and economic recovery. The National Coordinator will be updating you on the Protocols during this briefing. We have been working with other sectors to develop appropriate protocols.
6.Prior to the reopening of the airspace, the PTF had put in place Point of Entry Protocols to minimize importation. Unfortunately, the validation process for the pre-boarding PCR test have shown that 64% of recent spike in number of confirmed cases in Lagos (404) on Saturday 22nd August came from the evacuees.
7.Over the weekend, 252 additional Nigerians were evacuated from the United Arab Emirates which has brought the total number of Nigerians that have returned home to 4,984. We shall intensify the validation process for the PCR tests to minimize risks.
8.The WHO has provided guidance on the use of masks for children 11 years and above in the context of COVID-19 as it relates to the community. However, Children with immune compromised conditions are advised to wear mask irrespective of age. This guidance is strongly recommended for observance and the PTF shall update you as soon as it is revised by the WHO.
9.This morning we received the unfortunate news of the positive status of Prof. Akin Abayomi, the Lagos State Commissioner for Heath. This has saddened the PTF as the Commissioner has been foremost in the fight against COVID-19. We wish him and all other frontline workers that have risked their lives but contracted the virus in the process, safe and speedy recovery.
10.This unexpected news is a grim reminder that the virus is no respecter of persons or the positions they hold. Everyone is at risk and we must take responsibility. What the announcement of Prof. Abayomi has shown is that stigmatization has no place in our national response and that COVID-19 is not a death sentence. We therefore thank all those that have come out to announce their status and/or tell their stories and we urge Nigerians to take a queue to eliminate disbelief and skepticism.
11. Let’s keep arming the unbreakable Nigerian spirit to win this war and drive the virus out of our land. Join the hashtag #MaskOnNaija National awareness campaign.
12.I now call on the Honourable Minister of Health, DG, NCDC and the National Coordinator to provide us with necessary updates.
13.I thank you so much for your attention and have a good evening.