The Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19 led by its chairman, Boss Mustapha, on Wednesday submitted its Interim Report to President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.
Although the submission of the Report was done behind closed doors, Mr Mustapha, who spoke with the State House correspondents at the end of the event, said the president was quite happy with the content of the report by the PTF.
According to him, all the members of the PTF are committed to the assignment given to them and have exhibited the highest form of professionalism in dealing with the affairs.
”Basically, the report is a capsulation of how we have come from where we started and we have looked at the last one month.
”We have realized that there has been a global increase in terms of infections, we looked at the global statistics,” he said.
Mustapha observed that by July 4, the number of infections globally was about 10 million but within a period of one month, from July 4 to Aug. 4, there was an increase of almost eight million.
He added that the figure went up to 18 plus million.
”Similarly in Africa, by the 4th of July, we had about 300,000 infections but by Aug. 4, it rose to over 800,000.
”Similarly in Nigeria, by the July 4, we had about 28,000 infections but by yesterday, we had about 44,000.
”So, all over the world the figures have increased. What message does that convey to us as a people and as a nation? That we are not out of the woods.
”The pandemic is on, the virus is ravaging and you know cumulatively, with the increase in the numbers there are increase in fatalities.
”On the African continent, if you look at what is happening in South Africa, the figures have gone beyond half a million infections,” he said.
Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, therefore, called on state governments to intensify search of infected persons in the local communities to check community transmission in the country.
He said the call had become imperative because people had returned from Sallah celebration and the possibility of spreading the virus was very high.
He said: ”But I know that in the next couple of days, the testing will be rampant because people would have come out of the Sallah celebrations and come back to work, the subnational and local governments will begin to go into the communities to search because this is the point at which you have to go into the local communities and begin to search.
”If you don’t do that, so much is happening as a result of the community transmission that has been cascaded into the local communities that if you wait for it to present itself, it will present itself in a very explosive manner and we can get into a panic mode.
”We don’t want to have that, that is why we are encouraging the state governments to go into the local communities to ensure that they search for those infected with this virus, test them, if they are positive, isolate them and provide care for them.”
The PTF chairman also expressed reservations over the way and manner the COVID-19 protocols were being enforced in the states.
Mustapha also noted that the pandemic had succeeded in exposing the weaknesses of almost all systems not only in Nigeria but worldwide.
”It’s enforcement that has largely been lacking and my appeal is that the subnational should ensure enforcement.
”As a matter of fact, when we listed some of our challenges, that was top on the list; lack of enforcement of even the regulations that have been put in place.
”As a result of signing the Quarantine Regulation, it’s a regulation, it’s a law.
”But you see, the issue of enforcement has been lacking and it’s not only in this area and like I keep saying most times that COVID-19 has exposed the weaknesses of our systems, all systems, not only the Nigerian system, even the American system, its inadequacies, despite its 300 years of democracy, have been exposed by COVID-19.
”If not how can a President be arguing with the mayor of a city as to who has authority over what happens? It means there’s a big gap in that system.
”I believe if we can just work on the enforcement aspect of it, which is the responsibility of the subnational, we will go a long way,” he said.