Contrary to expectations that it might have relaxed the restrictions, the Federal Government yesterday announced that the lockdown of some states, including Lagos and Abuja, as earlier proclaimed by President Muhammadu Buhari, continues.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, who spoke in Abuja yesterday, said government was working on incentives, medical and life insurance for medical workers in the frontline of the fight against the pandemic, adding: “The evaluation of the impact of the restriction order of movement continues as the Presidential Task Force (PTF) will appropriately brief the President shortly and Nigerians will be adequately informed of the decision of Government.”
Mustapha also reiterated that the presence of Chinese medical professionals in the country was purely advisory and for capacity building, especially on the protection of frontline health workers and maintenance of the equipment that they have brought.
Giving an update on efforts by government to curtail the pandemic at a media briefing, Mustapha re-emphasised that the Chinese medical team “will not directly meet nor interact with our patients while in Nigeria.”
He said he was aware and has indeed been a champion of the reform and transformation of the healthcare system, contrary to reports in some sections of the media that he was ignorant of the level of decay in the health sector, noting that the PTF assignment has afforded him the opportunity to dig deeper, interrogate and x-ray the system better.
The SGF appealed to all the sub-national entities to recognise the serious nature of the COVID-19 situation and form a synergy with the federal government, so that the war would be won.
He assured that all members of the Chinese working team have been undergoing the mandatory 14-day quarantine in Nigeria before engaging in their primary role of providing guidance on usage and deployment of the equipment.
“On the issue of facemasks, the PTF is developing a national policy on its usage and Nigerians will be duly informed as soon as the policy is finalised,” he said
While commending the frontline healthcare workers for their commitment and sacrifices so far, Mustapha added: “The nation appreciates you and shall do everything possible to protect you.”