Following the second wave of the COVID-19 infection in the country, the Federal Government has asked all government staff on Grade Level.12 and below to stay at home for the next five weeks.
The Secretary to the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said this on Monday at the joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
According to him, Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executives are to be held accountable for enforcing NPI rules in their domains with frequent spot checks.
Mustapha who just returned from self-isolation, though not positive, when some members of his household tested positive to the virus said his four children were also infected.
“We should not take COVID-19 for joke, as a father of four children, I passed through difficult and traumatic times, as all my children were infected, also is one-year old boy in my household.
“Even at home I used to use facemasks, and my wife knows she also has responsibilities. May be that was why we were not infected,” Mustapha said.
Schools remain closed
He said that the PTF, on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Education, expects that schools would have vacated from the 18th December 2020 and remain closed till at least the 18th of January, 2021 to enable the measures introduced to take effect.
He also said that of the 163,818 inbound international travellers captured on the Nigeria International Travel Portal for the control of possible importation of the virus, 20,216 (31 percent), have not shown up for post arrival test.
According to him, as at date, 163,818 inbound travellers have been captured on the portal; and that out of this number, 77,025 (47 percent) made payment for post arrival testing.
He said that 64,405 (84 percent) of the number are due for post-arrival test; and that out of 44,189 (69 percent) that were due for post-arrival test, 44,189 representing (59 percent) of those tested.
“20,216 (31percent) have not shown up for post arrival test thereby endangering members of the community and breaching the protocols they signed up to,” Mustapha said.
“Sanctions await defaulters”
The SGF said that the PTF has concluded arrangements with the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to impose sanctions on these defaulters for breaching the public health protocols, within ambit of the law.
He also said that over the past four briefings, the PTF has been raising the alert flag on the rising number of infections in the country and the possibility of a second wave arriving at the nation’s shores.
He said that recent Epidemiology records confirm to the PTF that Nigeria is now facing a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide which is similar to the second wave of infections occurring in other countries across the world.
He added that Lagos, Kaduna and the FCT have emerged as the new epicentres during this period, with over 70 percent of all confirmed cases.
“Two major indicators highlight the current increase in cases and transmission across Nigeria. These are: Notwithstanding the fact that our testing numbers are fast approaching the peak recorded in July 2020, the number of cases being reported are disproportionately higher.
“For example, in the FCT, despite recording an increase of 85 percent in tests conducted over the last week, the number of confirmed cases increased by 285 percent, during the same time period; and ii. These trends point to a higher Test Positivity Rate (TPR- the number of positive cases detected as a proportion of all tests).
“The TPR was below five percent through September and October and we recorded a low point of three percent nationally in late October 2020. However, recent trends in cases has seen this number increase to 10 percent in the second week of December, the SGF said.
He said that these high numbers are further reflected in the increase of admissions to COVID-19 treatment centres and fatalities, particularly in the three epicentre states.
The SGF said that the result of the analysis carried out by the PTF further indicate that the current pattern of spread, and the surge is likely to be driven by the lack of compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), particularly the disregard for mask use in public, large gatherings as a result of events linked to the yuletide season and recent civil demonstrations.