COVID-19: PTF warns of possible third wave, lack of bed space despite vaccines availability

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Monday warned of possible third wave of the pandemic as is currently being experienced in some countries.Speaking at a joint national briefing in Abuja, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and chairman of Presidential Task Force Mr Boss Mustapha, said Nigerians should be weary of home-based care as there may not be enough facilities and personnel to manage patients in times of emergencies.

He said the arrival of vaccines had not in anyway distracted government from pursuing the national response to COVID-19 as originally conceptualised – test, detect, trace, isolate and treat.”For the avoidance of doubt, the virus is very potent and people still get infected. It is also a fact that the vaccination process has only just began. It has been reported that some countries are recording a third wave of cases.”We urge all Nigerians to recognize that we are not yet out of the woods. Therefore, the PTF shall continue to emphasis and promote the strict adherence to the Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions. 

“As at March, 14,2021, our bed occupancy has reduced to 1.22 percent and active cases stands 13,245. Unfortunately, Nigeria crossed 2,000 fatalities on March, 12,2021 and now we have 2,013 recorded deaths.”The PTF will like to caution Nigerians on Home-Based Care as there may not be enough facilities and personnel to manage patients in times of emergencies.”It is in this vain that concerted efforts have been made to ensure that oxygen is available for patients in all the 46 facilities,” he said.

He also spoke on the reports from all over the world on the safety and side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine that is currently being rolled out in the country, saying the Nigerian authorities have tested and authorised the use of the vaccines because it was safe and efficacious.”I however wish to reassure you that the Government of Nigeria shall always prioritize the health of Nigerians,” he said.

He said discussions with the KLM and Emirates airlines were still ongoing on the issue of pre-boarding testing for passengers whose final destination of travel were in their home bases.According to him, KLM would resume outbound flights from Lagos from March 15, 2021 without RDTs while a letter has been written to Emirates Airlines to suspend flights with effect from midnight of Wednesday, March 17, 2021.”The ban has since been lifted after necessary infrastructure and personnel and systems were put in place in Lagos and Abuja airports. In order to further energize the economies of states in the North-West, South-South and South-East, a timetable has been prepared for the reopening of Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu international airports,” he said.

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