The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) has approved the establishment of at least one oxygen plant in each state to ensure availability of medical oxygen for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
This was revealed by the Chairman, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, on Tuesday in Abuja, during the task force’s media briefing.
According to the SGF, approval was also given for the rehabilitation of five oxygen plants across various tertiary health institutions in Abuja.
Attributing the spike in the number of COVID-19 infections in the country to Yuletide festivities, Mustapha said the last few days had shown the effect of the activities during the Christmas period.
He noted that the highest number ever recorded since the national response began, was 1,204, which was published on Monday, January 4, 2021.
Tuesday’s infection figure is higher, with 1,354 new infections reported across 20 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
Mustapha said, “Closely associated with that is the increasing daily numbers that we are recording. Yesterday, 4th January, 2021, we recorded 1,204 infections.
“This was the highest daily number ever recorded since we commenced the national response.
“From our analysis, we are beginning to see the effect of activities carried out during the Christmas festivities. We can only hope that numbers will not escalate beyond control.
“We, however, still appeal to all citizens to take full responsibility through compliance and vigilance.”
The PTF chairman noted that testing is key in the fight against COVID-19 and it remains a key strategy in the country’s response to the pandemic.
He lamented the low testing rates in some states, the financial and logistic support from the Federal Government.
“As we have always maintained, testing is a key strategy under the national response.
“To this end we can report that there are about 100 laboratories across the country.
“These are 71 public labs; 22 private labs and 7 corporate labs. Collectively, they are to help improve testing in the country.
“Regrettably, however, there is still very low testing in a number of states.
“For clarity, the DG NCDC will elaborate on the spheres of responsibility in testing and the Federal Government has sufficiently supported the states to enable them support surveillance and IPC.
Against the backdrop of the belief that COVID-19 doesn’t exist by a section of the public, Mustapha said the development is alarming, but said the PTF will increase risk communication and utilize community engagement to create more awareness.
He also called Nigerians to become advocates in support of the National Response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mustapha noted that the PTF had started sanctioning violators of international flights protocols in the country, adding that not less than 200,000 inbound passengers, who had violated the protocols had been penned for sanctions and that their identities published.
He said, “Finally, I wish to confirm that the PTF has commenced the sanctions on passengers who defaulted on day-7 post arrival tests.
“Their passport numbers have been published and travel restrictions imposed for a period of six months effective 1st January, 2021.
“Let me categorically state that the PTF has generated over 20,000 inbound passengers that have also defaulted. The publication will continue weekly till it is exhausted.
“Nigerians should be aware that every defaulter is a threat to public health, which is unacceptable to us and represents a draw back to the National Response.
“We have a duty to advise our relations, friends, associates to comply with laid down rules.”
Recall that President Buhari had in December, directed the PTF and the Nigeria Immigration Service to ensure that all in-bound passengers who failed to show up for post-arrival COVID-19 test be sanctioned within the ambit of the law.
Following this directive, passports of 100 in-bound airline passengers that failed to take the second COVID-19 test after arriving in the country were initially suspended.
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