The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has warned #EndSARS protesters against contracting and spreading the virus while gathering to protest against the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force.
It also called on Nigerians to be take precautions while travelling or planning to receive travellers from the United States of America, United Kingdom, India, Russia and France.
The calls were made at the PTF’s media briefing in Abuja on Monday.
The National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, while answering a question on the protests, said, “On the impact of what has been going on and incidence of (having) new COVID-19 infections in the country, we are monitoring the situation in terms of testing closely.
“We will continue to urge all – the young, the old, and the vulnerable – to please be careful. Any mass gathering of any sort is an event amplifying the situation for COVID-19. And COVID-19 is still very much around with us, we don’t want to get infected and carry the infection to our loved ones, especially those at home that might be vulnerable.”
The task force’s chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, also corroborated Aliyu’s position.
The SGF, who urged the #EndSARS protesters to harken to the invitation to dialogue, emphasising that non-compliance with the non-pharmaceutical protocols were risky adventures that must be avoided.
“We urge everyone who has been exposed unduly to large gathering to get tested and/or report any signs of the symptoms of COVID-19,” he said.
Mustapha also noted that the global cases of COVID-19 rose by a record 400,000 cases on October 16 with 43 per cent of all the cases occurring in Europe, especially in the UK and France.
“The top five countries in new cases reported in the last 24 hours are India (55,511); USA (44,941); France (29,837); UK (16,982) and Russia (15,099).
“It is important to take precaution when planning to travel or receive travellers from these countries,” he said.
He however said Nigeria was on the path to winning the war against the virus.
Mustapha said, “The PTF continues to monitor developments in-country and around the world so as to improve on its activities and its decisions.”
He said 4,876 patients recovered and were discharged which represents a 388 per cent increase when compared with 967 people discharged in the previous week.
The SGF added that cumulatively, a total of 56,611 patients had been discharged after treatment, representing 92 per cent of all cases in Nigeria.
“Last week was week 34 of our National Response and week 42 of the year. Indications are that Nigeria appears to be winning the war against COVID-19. Some of the current figures support this position.”
According to him, in the 34th week of the pandemic in Nigeria, a total of 1,174 new cases were recorded in the country, representing a 32 per cent increase from the 921 recorded in the previous week.
Mustapha said, “This statistical review becomes very relevant when we remember that over the same period, quite a number of large gathering events, particularly the protests across the country have been taking place.
“It becomes more pertinent because of the fact that measures such as mask wearing, social distancing and use of sanitisers were never observed.”
He stressed that similarly-important that the education sector has joined aviation in the gradual but safe reopening process.
Speaking on the reopening of orientation camps by the National Youth Service Corps, Aliyu disclosed that members, while in camp, would be limited to their platoons to observe social distancing.
Aliyu also disclosed that prospective members would undergo COVID-19 tests at different times.
The PTF coordinator also said the Kano, Enugu and Port Harcourt international airports would only be reopened if laboratories were available to test passengers arriving in the country.