Covid-19: January will be tough for Nigerians, FG warns

The Federal Government has warned that the coming month of January 2021 will be tough on Nigerians, following the brazen violation of the Non- Pharmaceutical Interventions measures put in place by the government to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, adding that the nation stands the risk of increasing cases of the virus.

The Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Chikwe Ihekweazu, gave this warning while making his remarks during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on the containment of the Covid-19 on Tuesday in Abuja stressing that Nigerians have refused to adhere to the measures put in place to tackle the virus.

He said: “just looking at pictures, images and videos from across the country, it is a very disheartening situation because it appears that our massaging, our appeals to Nigerians over the last few months have not been heeded and we have gone ahead with business as usual. Event centers are full, social facilities are full, so it is not a surprise that cases are rising. January will be a tough month, no doubt about that, so we have to brace ourselves for the consequences of the activities that we have decided to carry on in December.”

He said further that the nation just faced the worst cases this week since the government started responding to the outbreak, stressing “We had more cases in Nigeria than in any other previous week since the beginning of the outbreak.”

He noted however, that despite the gloomy January, the Federal Government still has an opportunity to liaise with state governors across the country to be more purposeful in implementing the measures agreed on collectively, even as he cautioned some who still carry on as if there will be no consequences.

Speaking about the possibility of the new variant of the Covid-19 in Nigeria, the NCDC boss said “The question is whether the new variant is associated with any increase in transmission or severity. We don’t know that yet, we suspect that this variant is in Nigeria, it would be surprising if it is not, but we simply don’t know yet. So, what we are doing is collecting samples of some recently diagnosed cases and work and verify if this variant exist is Nigeria or not. That is work that is ongoing and it will take us a couple of weeks to have enough samples to analyze and to then define whether we have this variant or not.”

He also assured that the government is working to ensure that it gets the vaccines in 2021 but warned that the country will not have access to these vaccines immediately but will have to work with the tools available to prevent more cases.

Meanwhile Federal government said it will be receiving 100 cylinders of oxygen daily, through its private sector collaborators namely; Raj Gupta and Abuja Steel Mills, as part of short gap measures in the treatment of the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic

The Chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the government of the federation SGF, Boss Mustapha, at the national briefing on the COVID-19, commended the oxygen providers “for bridging the gap in oxygen requirements in Abuja with at least 100 cylinders of medical oxygen daily for the next three months, as part of the contributions”

Mustapha noted that the oxygen availability is critical to the success of the COVID-19 case management.

He disclosed that although there is an on-going review of the chain for the supply of medical oxygen for medical facilities across the nation, added that “while we work on immediate measures, we wish to express our appreciation to Raj Gupta and Abuja Steel Mills for bridging the gap in oxygen requirements in Abuja with at least 100 cylinders of medical oxygen daily for the next three months, as part of the contributions of CACOVID.

We are also grateful to the Nigeria Airforce for logistics support to the health sector in the last nine months.

Mustapha who lamented the increasing number of infections and hospitalization, ensure that infection, prevention and control (IPC) is properly instituted to minimize spread and exposure of health care workers to the virus; ensure that those who require hospitalization are well managed; those requiring medical attention for other ailments gain access to Treatment at medical facilities; and critical care is available and deployed especially where oxygen is needed. The situation in Abuja and its environs has been of concern to the PTF.

“During our conversation with health authorities (including the CMDs of Federal Tertiary Institutions in Abuja: – National Hospital; Jabi & Gwagwalada) this afternoon, the PTF directed that the level of Infections, Prevention and Control as well as case management should be prioritized immediately,” he said.

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