President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday announced the extension of the term of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to March 2021 as Nigeria faces a second wave of the ravaging pandemic.
Earlier in March, Buhari set up the 12-man task force as a government response to COVID-19 after the country recorded its first case of the virus, naming the secretary to the government of the federation,Boss Mustapha as head of the task force.
Nine months later, the president said the reason for the extension of the task force’s mandate sprang from the exigency to keep the country afloat in the fight against the ravaging pandemic as its gains in the last nine months should not be lost.
“The nation cannot afford to lose the gains of the past nine months in the fight against the virus,” Buhari said in a Twitter post on Tuesday after receiving the end-of-the-year report from the task force,” the president said.
“Recent reports reaching me indicate 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 called for vigilance and control over the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
Last week alone, Nigeria recorded 5,176 infections – the highest weekly figure since a sharp decline in October. So far, 78,790 people have been infected with 1,227 dying from the virus and 68,493 recovering from it, according to data from the National Centre for Disease Control.
Responding to the new wave of the pandemic, the federal government reduced social gatherings to 50 people only while advising states to immediately close all bars, nightclubs, and restaurants across the country.
“I have critically evaluated the situation and remain convinced that urgent measures have to be taken to halt the spread and the attendant fatalities,” the president said.
Buhari also said the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine would soon commence as “this is an important obligation that we owe Nigerians as we go into year 2021 and it must be carried out through an efficient machinery.”
He urged traditional rulers, religious leaders to collaborate with the PTF by “taking up the responsibility for risk communication and community engagement at all levels.”
“Now is the time for collective efforts to be intensified.
“As the festive season approaches, I urge all Nigerians to remain vigilant and stay safe. Non-essential trips and large social gatherings should be avoided or shelved completely,” he said.
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