Saturday, 11 April 2020

COVID-19:PTF Advise States Against Contemplation Of Lifting Restrictions Order As Cases Rise To 305: Olusegun Ariyo



Not The Right Time To Relax COVID-19 Containment Protocols, FG ...


Even though speculations are ripe that president Mohammadu Buhari may extend the lockdown in the already restricted states of Ogun, Lagos and federal capital territory (FCT) , the National Coordinator  for the Presidential Task Force On COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu cautioned states governments against contemplation of lifting the lockdown order.
Aliyu made this remark at Friday’s edition of presidential briefing on COVID-19 and that which was monitored by our correspondent on channel’s television’s live broadcast yesterday.


 The National Coordinator for the PTF on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, cautioned state governments against relaxing the lockdown order.
Buhari had, on March 29, ordered the lockdown for an initial period of 14 days to tackle the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.
As of that day, Nigeria had 111 COVID-19 cases with one death, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. The cases were recorded in 11 states and the FCT.
But as of Friday night, Coronavirus cases had increased to 305 in the country after fresh 17 cases were recorded in the country. The states where the fresh cases were recorded were Lagos (8), Katsina (3), FCT (2), Niger (1), Kaduna (1), Anambra (1) and Ondo (1).
While 58 patients had been discharged, seven had died as of Friday night.
The new cases also brought the number of states affected to 18, excluding the FCT.
Speaking at the media briefing, Dr Aliyu  said Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Ondo are among states that took the decision to relax their restrictions for Christians to commemorate the Easter celebrations.
Aliyu said, “We noted that some states had started lifting their bans or relaxing their containment protocols. This is really not the right time to do so, partly because we still have an ongoing pandemic, which is global.
“It is also not the right time to do so, because we could end up having a reoccurrence of infections.
 Aliyu explained that there was also a “very strong need” for state governments to work in harmony and align with the Federal Government to deal with the pandemic.
He further said, “I would like to ask state governments, working through the state task force teams or the state ministries of health, to consider setting up accreditation teams that would accredit particularly private facilities, and public facilities.
“This is for the simple reason that it is really important that our front-line health care staff know how to use personal protective equipment and how to protect themselves from this infection.
“We are very keen to expand the availability of intensive care facilities beyond just the public sector.”
“It is also not the right time to do so, because we could end up having a reoccurrence of infections.
“At this point, I am appealing to our local community leaders, religious and traditional leaders, as well as the state authorities, to continue to support and encourage the public to maintain those protective measures.”
On the issue of Detained Caverton pilot, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said the pilots of Caverton Helicopters who were arrested and detained by the Rivers State Government would soon be released.
Sirika made this disclosure while responding to questions
He said, “The pilots were carrying out national assignment because the speech by the SGF and the presidential address exempted oil and gas from the lockdown or shutdown in national interest.
“And these Caverton Helicopters’ pilots were flying into the military base on national assignment.
“Of course, I may not be learned but I am lettered and I understand, in this case, there is no conflict between the federal and state laws but I will not argue that on this platform. It is unnecessary.
“So, on whether the governor of Rivers State (Nyesom Wike) ought to know if the exempted Caverton flight would be landing in a military base in Port Harcourt belonging to the Nigerian Air Force, he did not need to know.
“ regarding the pilots, the pilots will soon be released, rescued and there will not be any conviction hanging on their necks.”
Sirika further said, “Arising from the constitutional provision and the powers of Mr President, the seriousness of this task force, the danger of COVID-19, the way we operate civil aviation and military aviation, that’s why I said the air force officer acted ignorantly to have called the governor when the chopper landed on his property.
“Also, the federal police who made the arrest within the premises of the military acted ignorantly as well. And I said they exhibited incompetence, as this matter should not be over-flogged."The Federal Government is there for the 200 million people of Nigeria, regardless of whether you are from Rivers or Cross River, Kano or Kaduna.”

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