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COVID-19: FG bars officials from travels, cautions on political gatherings

SGF Boss Mustapha

The Federal Government on Monday announced the suspension of all unnecessary travels for meetings by government officials till further notice.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, said this in Abuja at the 50th joint national briefing of the taskforce.

He also said that government or board meetings should be conducted virtually until further notice.

Mustapha also said that Nigerians must remain vigilant as the pandemic would not go away by a wish, neither would it go away if people refuse to keep safe.

“Please let us all resolve to play our part, while the Government does its best to save lives and livelihood. To this end, all government offices shall continue to hold virtual meetings in their offices especially where participants exceed four persons and suspend all unnecessary travels for meetings.

“For corporate organisations, board members, among others, the reopening of the domestic flights should not be misconstrued.

“The PTF strongly encourages virtual meetings as well; we still urge places of worship to cautiously follow the guidelines on public gatherings, and we urge members of the political class to exercise utmost circumspection in their gathering for whatever reasons,” he said.

According to him, the decision was part of the outcome of the PTF mid-term Review of the National Response Strategy.

He said that the Mid-term review had in attendance legislators including the Chairmen of the relevant Committees on Health in the Senate and House of Representatives, the Office of the Vice President, Ministers, Diplomatic Community as well as development partners.

On the case management deficit, Mustapha said that the focus was on having enough oxygen nationwide as the number of hospitalized persons increases.

On the testing deficit, he said that the plan was to establish one sample collection centre per local government areas.

“Underlying the above, as a cross-cutting initiative is an enhanced Risk Communication Strategy designed not only to educate the citizenry on the virulence of the virus and individual and collective roles but more importantly to tackle the deliberate misinformation being bandied around especially in the social media.

“An enhanced Risk Communication strategy becomes inevitable when we realise that within the last 24 hours, the world witnessed the largest single-day cases of 230,370 while in Nigeria the last week recorded the highest weekly fatality of 70 deaths,” Mustapha said.

On the controversy surrounding schools resumption, the SGF said, “The PTF has followed with keen interest the conversation around the resumption of schools. We recognize that our children are precious and we would not do anything to compromise their safety.

“The PTF has assessed the circumstances and has put in place necessary guidelines to be followed while the managers of the sector have the responsibility for drawing up the protocols and determining the dates.

“We urge Nigerians to follow closely the critical steps being taken by the Federal Ministry of Education in conjunction with other stakeholders,” he said.

He added that the Federal Ministry of Education has released guidelines for schools and learning facilities reopening after COVID-19 Pandemic closure.

He said that the guidelines clearly spell out major things to consider before schools and learning facilities shall reopen, the reopening process, sequencing and scheduling of safe reopening and decisions about schools reopening.

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