By G9ija

The head of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, Boss Mustapha, has stated that the PTF will assess the impact of Valentine’s Day on Covid-19.

The PTF boss on Monday stated: “Yesterday was February 14 and globally it is known as Valentine’s Day.

“While we appreciate the message of love, we also hope that the message of safety, taking responsibility and compliance with non-pharmaceutical measures were also broadcast seriously.

“The PTF will continue to monitor developments over the next two weeks due to the nature of celebrations that took place.”

Meanwhile, surveillance is to be stepped up at the nation’s points of entry to stave off another outbreak of Ebola virus in the country.

This followed reports of new cases emerging in neighbouring countries including Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the Covid-19 Pandemic and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, disclosed this during its regular media briefing in Abuja on Monday.

He said it was important to keep a keen eye on the point of entries to avoid dealing with two deadly diseases at the same time.

He said: “The PTF is also enhancing surveillance at points of entry to respond to the recent outbreak of Ebola in neighbouring countries, especially, Guinea and the Congo DCR.

“We shall keep a keen eye on it to avoid having to combat with the two deadly diseases at the same time. This is not a task for Government alone but for all Nigerians and indeed all members of the public have a role to play.”

Mustapha remarked that the task force would in the next two weeks monitor the impact of Valentine’s Day on COVID-19 infections in the country as he expressed the hope that revellers would have complied with safety protocols.

While noting that in two weeks, it would be the first year anniversary of the COVID-19 Index case recorded in Nigeria, he said although the country was not out of the woods yet, it is very important to remain committed to the adherence to the Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs).

Mustapha informed that the Oxygen strategy of the government is receiving the needed support from the Global Fund, saying: “This will involve the repairs of 36 plants nationwide. The process is ongoing and you will be briefed as it progresses.

“The objective is to make sure that oxygen is available within the shortest possible travelling distance for hospitals to procure for patients. As you are aware, the President has already approved the repairs of existing plants around the country.”

He affirmed that there have been sustained efforts by sub-national entities and the FCT administration to stem the tide against the second wave of the pandemic.

According to him, this is evident in the closure of some facilities including event centres, clubs, etc over the violation of protocols.

He added: “We are glad about the direction of the collaboration and enforcement which we believe will deter other would-be violators.

“For the avoidance of doubt, places of worship should only have 50 per cent of their capacity, indoor gatherings/meetings should not exceed 50 persons, at a time. Indoor Restaurants, Clubs and lounges should remain closed.

“On the other hand, the recorded death of twenty-four (24) COVID-19 patients in the country on Saturday, 13th February 2021, being the second-highest in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic should serve as a wake-up call for the populace to brace up for more compliance.”

On vaccines, the SGF assured that the process of assessing them for Nigeria is still on course under the coordination of the PTF, saying that the goal remains to keep them safe and efficacious.

Speaking on the dialogue between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates and KLM over the testing requirements prescribed by some airlines, he recalled that outbound airlift of passengers by the airlines have been restricted pending when the protocols are ironed out.

“The PTF wishes to underscore the fact that respect for national protocols, setting up of appropriate infrastructure and the all-round protection of our travelling nationals shall remain paramount in our consideration and the eventual outcome,” Mustapha stated.