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COVID-19 Nigeria: PTF Chairman Boss Mustapha says confirmed cases could be 5 times more as virus spreads uncontrollably in States

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Lagos State Isolation centre

By Audrey Lotechukwu

TUE, JUN 30 2020-theG&BJournal-  ‘’The exponential rise in number of cases detected and the fatalities gives cause for concern,’’ warns the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, Boss Mustapha on Monday as coronavirus infections begin to take a chokehold on many States across the country.

The figures announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Monday brought the nationwide totals to 25,133 cases, including 573 deaths and 132,304 samples tested from 38 molecular testing laboratories across the country.

The 566 new cases came from 20 states, where more of the community spread is occurring. 60% of the confirmed cases are linked to 18 local government areas of the country.

The Presidential Task Force in recent days have raised the level of alarm as they struggle to contain the transmissions that have been rapidly spreading as people increasingly ignore measures designed to prevent transmission and protect the vulnerable segment of the population.

‘’We hold a strong view that if this action does not abate experiences of the resurgence of the virus from other jurisdiction including China, the US, Brazil and across Europe may emerge in Nigeria and we run the risk of erasing the gains made in the last three months,’’ Mustapha said.

He warned that the pandemic is wreaking havoc across the globe including Nigeria and suggested that Nigeria’s worst period is just starting because ‘’for every detected case there is a high possibility that up to 5 has not been submitted to testing and therefore not detected.’’

‘’That presupposes that on a day that you have 500 confirmed cases, the likely hood is that you might have missed 2,500. I believe if you do a rough mental addition, you will know that the figures we have now are not actually what is evident on ground in our communities,’’ Mustapha said Monday in Abuja during the PTF daily COVID-19 briefing monitored by theG&BJournal.

To buttress the escalating rate of infection, he gave a quick data analysis- for the daily reported statistics in Nigeria from 18 to 27 of June 2020 (10 days), eight out of the ten days, the number of confirmed cases exceeded 500.

‘’By way of reminder, there is presently no known vaccine for the virus and all over the world, the non-pharmaceutical measure still remain the most effective fighting opportunity we have for overcoming this pandemic.’’

Meanwhile, with the pandemic spreading fast in communities, the PTF is equally shifting its response strategy from Abuja to States, assigning more responsibilities to State Governments and designing collaborative tools to ensure alignment with the national approach to managing the pandemic.

According to Mustapha, ‘’the spread has entered the community phase which only states and the local governments should drive. The inaction of a state could endanger its neighbours and compromise the entirety of the response.’’

States will be encouraged to make concerted effort to ensure a push for the compliance with the guidelines issued by the PTF and States must take greater care on working on surveillance, case finding, testing, isolation, tracing and quarantining contacts.

He said the Federal Government will predicate its resource deployment to States on the level of compliance and the extent of collaboration received on the public health emergencies.

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