The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 says it has made appropriate recommendations to President Muhammadu Buhari on reopening of schools, religious centres and “some certain businesses not opened hitherto” as the country’s coronavirus burden top 10,000.
Chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, disclosed this to journalists on Sunday after submitting the fourth interim report of the panel to President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
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Nigeria on Sunday recorded 307 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total infections to 10,162.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said 3,007 patients have been treated and discharged.
The NCDC said that till date, the 10,162 cases were recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
The health agency said the 307 new cases were reported from 15 states.
They are: Lagos (188), FCT (44), Ogun (19), Kaduna (14), Oyo (12), Bayelsa (9), Gombe (5), Kano (3), Delta (3), Imo (2), Rivers (2), Niger (2), Bauchi (2), Plateau (1), Kwara (1).
Reopening of schools, religious centres
He said the PTF had made appropriate recommendations to Buhari on reopening of schools, religious centres and “some certain businesses not opened hitherto”.
“In the framework, the states are sub-national, they’ve their own responsibilities too, so it’s in the exercise of those responsibilities that they had meetings with those religious bodies and agreed on the guidelines and protocols on how they open up, but in the framework of the national response, we’re taking that into consideration.”
‘We’re not out of the woods’
On whether the country was winning the battle against COVID-19, considering the rate of infections, Mustapha said: “We’re winning.
“As a matter of fact, you juxtapose the rate of cases with our fatality rate, which is basically about 3%, in other countries and other climes, it’s over 10%, but the most important thing that you will realise, when we started this exercise, we had only five testing stations, now we’ve ramped it up to 28, without a correspondent increase in the number of deaths.
“We’ve gone beyond 60,000 now, that reflects in the number of confirmed cases
“We’ve not reached the peak yet and I won’t want to fool Nigerians by telling them we’re out of the woods.
“No, we’re not out of the woods.
“As we even open up and accommodate more enterprises, because we’re trying to have a balance between livelihoods and life, there’s a likelihood of increase in transmission in cases.
“But that should not be a source of despair.
“Like we’ve always said, the experts will tell you over 80% will contract coronavirus and will not even notice that they’ve and that accounts for what’s happening at the isolation centres when you see young men saying they’re not sick and asking why they’re being kept there.
“There’s a 20% that’s critical by virtue of certain factors, indices: age, underlying health conditions and vulnerability.
“That’s the percentage we’re trying to protect and if we don’t do something in terms of management, in terms of putting in non-pharmaceutical intervention and guidelines to protect that 20%, about 5% of them can fall critically ill and eventually become fatalities in the numbers and that’s what we’re trying to avoid.
“So, everything we’re emplacing is to ensure we protect this vulnerable 20%.
“80% will ware it out so the figure isn’t a thing of major concern. Yesterday (Saturday), when I saw the 553, I called the governor of Lagos.
“I thought he was going to be under intense pressure.
“But surprisingly, he said no, that it was expected because testing has been ramped up and as you ramp up your testing, it reveals what’s happening in your community that prepares better for the kind of management care you’ll put in place.
“We’re not worried about it as to whether the numbers will increase. They’ll increase.”