Olalekan Adetayo and Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has said the epicentre of the dreaded virus has shifted from states such as Lagos, Kano, Ogun and Oyo to Plateau State.
The Chairman of the task force, Boss Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, disclosed this at a press briefing in Abuja.
Mustapha said since six months ago that the country recorded its index case of coronavirus from Lagos State, “Nigeria has done remarkably well, but could do exceedingly better.”
He said, “The PTF would also like to draw our attention to a subtle change in the epicentre of the virus.
“We all recall that Lagos, Kano and Ogun states were the initial epicentres and then to Oyo at a time, it is now Plateau State.
“As mentioned by the Lagos State Commissioner for Health and a notable COVID-19 warrior, Prof. Akin Abayomi, Lagos has passed its peak, but we call for vigilance and cautious optimism because the scourge is not over yet.”
The task force’s National Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu, said there were not many coronavirus-related deaths in Nigeria compared to some other parts of the world because of its youthful population.
He explained that COVID-19 primarily affected the elderly people above the age of 65, which constituted only about three per cent of the Nigerian population, compared to Italy with 21 per cent and the United Kingdom with 18 per cent.
He said, “The main reason we are not seeing the number of deaths that we are seeing outside the country is really because of the demographic nature of Nigeria.
“As I have said in the past, we have a youth surge; only three per cent of the population are above the age of 65, compared to 21 per cent of the Italian population and 18 per cent of the UK population.”
The PTF also inaugurated its online “transparency dashboard” designed to be accessible by members of the public on the activities of the task force and utilisation of the resources allocated or donated towards the government’s response to the pandemic.
Aliyu advised the corporate institutions to enforce the non-pharmaceutical measures for the prevention of the spread of the disease.
Speaking at the PTF briefing, Aliyu urged them to enforce a policy of “no face mask, no entry; no face mask, no service.”
FG supporting NAFDAC on research
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said the Federal Government was supporting the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control to reach international maturity level and encouraging researchers to work towards the development of vaccine candidates.
“We shall sustain our interest in developments around COVID-19 around the world and seek opportunities to exchange ideas with countries and organisations investing in new knowledge,” he said.
While inaugurating the “transparency dashboard”, Mustapha said transparency, governance and accountability remained the core values of the task force.
He said, “The donations, alongside the disbursements across the federation, have been documented and are now open for everyone to see through the activation of these dashboards, which are now accessible on the PTF website – www.statehouse.gov.ng/covid19.”