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Amid increasing cases, Nigerian govt hints on relaxing COVID-19 measures further

The Nigerian Government has said it might again relax some of the measures put in place to check the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

This came amid the continued increase in cases of the virus across the country and possible risk a further relaxation of the measure to curtail the transmission of the disease may pose.

The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, gave the hint on Thursday at a briefing by the task force in Abuja.

Aliyu, who said it was unfortunate that a good number of Nigerians still did not believe that COVID-19 existed, cautioned that the risk of contracting the disease as of Thursday was higher than it was previously.

“We may be relaxing some of the measures we took earlier on. But the relaxation does not mean that we are at a lower risk of catching the virus.

“If you do not need to go out, stay at home. That is still the best advice we can give. Let us not wait for the virus to reach disastrous proportion before we being to believe. We are already seeing this happen in many other countries. We must learn from their experiences to mitigate preventable fatalities,” he said.

Aliyu said that the government was determined more than ever to take the enforcement of the guidelines, especially, the use of facemasks seriously in the next phase of response to the disease.

“At a meeting with some of the governors, we urged them to put in place local laws and edicts that will allow authorities to fine people who violate these guidelines,” he noted.

Further warning Nigerians still not accepting the existence of the pandemic to start believing in COVID, Aliyu said:

“The truth everyone must know is that COVID-19 is real. People are dying from COVID-19. There are people that are currently not with us at the moment because of COVID 19.

Read also: 594 fresh cases of COVID-19 push Nigeria’s total to 22,614; death toll now 549

“Over nine million people have tested positive for the disease, At least 22,000 of them are in Nigeria.”

According to him, Nigeria nationally had 53 per cent bed space for COVID-19 cases as of Thursday.

“We still do have states that have less than 300 beds which is the standard that we requested. But there are also states that, due to their high numbers, like Lagos, for instance; there is no way they can cater for all positive cases of COVID-19 infection, it is impossible.

“Overall, nationally, we know that our bed capacity is about 53 per cent. It varies. Some states have extra capacity while some don’t.

“Home isolation is really our last resort. We are also working with some of our partners to introduce the concept of community isolation, community support centres as part of hotspot strategy for intervention that are more precision based.”

Also speaking, the Chairman of PTF, Boss Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), decried the attitude of many Nigerians, refusing to observe the guidelines released to curtail the spread of the disease.

He said if he had the power, a fresh lockdown would have been reintroduced in Nigeria looking at the current situation of the virus in the country.

He said, “This is the time to lock down if it were within my power. With the daily increase in confirmed cases, the Federal Government feels a sense of frustration because we can see glaring the danger ahead and you can see the level of recklessness on the part of people who should know better.

“You would have noticed that the number of confirmed cases and fatalities released in the last few days have been on the high side.

“While we attribute this to increased testing, it also goes to confirm the extent of the spread within our communities, especially the 21 high burden LGAs identified as accounting for over 60 per cent of infections nationwide.”

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