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Anticipate, prepare for second wave of COVID-19, PTF Warns Nigerians

Clears NYSC to commence orientation for corps members

The Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 (PTF), has told  Nigerians to anticipate and prepare for a possible second wave of the pandemic.

Consequently, it would unveil the next steps regarding the next phase of the eased lockdown before the week ends as findings and recommendations have been compiled and would be presented to President Muhammadu Buhari in the eight interim report.

Speaking at the media briefing in Abuja, PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, noted that no nation could be said to be immune to a possible second wave if the guidelines and protocols were not strictly observed.

“The PTF is glad that the economy is opening up, but warns that as we continue to monitor developments in Europe and other parts of the world, our hope and prayers are that it shall never happen again,” he said.

Mustapha noted that the debate on safe reopening of schools had dominated conversations by concerned citizens and parents, stressing that states have the responsibility for determining the dates and modalities for safe reopening, while the Federal Government provides the guidelines.

He added that the PTF and relevant MDAs have made appreciable progress in their discussions with the European Union (EU) over flight restrictions, entry of Nigerians and holders of long-term Schengen visas into the territory.

“We hope to make a very favourable announcement on this, very soon,” he said. Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, warned that the COVID-19 pandemic was not over yet, noting that all Nigerians owe it a duty to ensure that they protect themselves and others.

Meanwhile, the PTF gave management of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) approval to open orientation camps across the country. National Coordinator of PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu, said: “We have actually given the NYSC a day to reopen but the responsibility is on the NYSC management to do the announcement. We expect that soon.”

Aliyu disclosed that the rapid test kits developed by the Nigerian Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) was still undergoing revalidation, but insisted that the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) currently being used by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and approved laboratories remained the gold standard.

He said although the World Health Organisation (WHO) had approved the kits, they would only be useful when people show symptoms.

“You do not use them in low-risk populations and that is why the WHO is not recommending them for testing international travelers. We are going to use them in the NYSC camps very soon, but for we are using PCR test for now,” he said.

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