After a frightening spike in the number of people affected and killed by the COVID-19 all over the world and the declaration by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that the pandemic is a global catastrophe, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Musa Mohammed Bello, quickly introduced a number of pro-active measures to check the spread of the virus and save the lives of the people.
Based on the advice and guidance of public health authorities, the meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC), the presidential task force on the control of the coronavirus pandemic, the FCT authorities led by the minister held an emergency meeting that also included traditional and religious leaders and reached the following conclusions:
– Religious leaders and worshippers were enjoined to follow all laid down protocols as stipulated by all relevant health authorities for the control of the spread of the corona virus epidemics.
– Congregations at places of worships in Abuja were hereby restricted to a maximum of 50 at any given time.
– These measures also apply to gatherings of social events at events centres, football viewing centres and marriage and burial ceremonies, etc.
– The essence of these restrictions is to make the tracking of affected persons, if any, easier in the FCT for health authorities.
– Residents were also advised not to be involved in panic buying and to seek for information about the coronavirus from public health officials from time to time.
With this first step approach in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus and its mitigation in the territory, the minister was thus armed with the tool to monitor the situation in Abuja and these proactive measures and actions of the minister are highly commendable.
While agreeing that Abuja is seen as a relatively low risk area in the spread of the coronavirus, as just few case of affected persons have been reported, these proactive measures became necessary because the WHO has declared the coronavirus an emergency international pandemic of great concern and Abuja is a part of the global community.
The minister, knowing full well that the safety and well being of the FCT residents are of paramount concern and responsibility of his, took those pro-active steps to help ensure that we have a plan of action in place to address a possible outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Abuja. The minister has also established a team that would help him in the implementation of the action plans.
The minister is working closely with health experts and relevant health authorities in the territory with the presidential task force on the control of the coronavirus set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to contain any possible outbreak in Abuja. The minister made sure that nurses and other health experts are on 24 four hours stanby for possible diagnosis and treatments, if any.
To also minimise the spread of the virus, the minister has ordered that proactive steps must be undertaken by the health authorities in the territory to ensure protection and assistance, while also ensuring that all necessary plans of action are drawn up and in place including the preventive measures.
Experts have been put on red alert, and dedicated staff would take responsibilities for initial diagnosis of possible infections.
All relevant authorities in Abuja will strictly follow the evolving case definition as supplied by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the presidential task force on the control of the coronavirus pandemic, whether an interview with the resident who presents himself with the symptoms will be conducted.
Public enlightenment committees have been created to remind residents of Abuja that while there is no vaccine to prevent the COVID-19, there are preventive measures to be taken to avoid contracting the virus.
Such preventive measures include:
-Washing of hands often with water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
-Avoiding the touching of your mouth, nose and eyes with unwashed hands.
-Avoid contacts with people who are sick.
-Staying at home when you are sick and immediately calling a medical professional.
-Covering of the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with a tissue and throwing the tissue into a trash immediately after.
-Clean and disinfecting often touched objects or surfaces.
The public enlightenment committee set up by the minister has been educating residents on how to avoid being a victim of the COVID-19 by proactively teaching them the following:
A. You would know if you have contracted the COVID-19 if you notice or experience a sudden onset of fever of 38 degree and above.
B. In addition, you would experience one or more of the following symptoms; cough, fever, difficulty in breathing.
Finally, every resident of Abuja who intends travelling to other states in Nigeria or abroad is advised to take precautionary steps to avoid exposure to the coronavirus. If at any stage, any resident of Abuja feels he has been exposed to the virus, he must, as a responsibility, quarantine himself and immediately invite a medical doctor. We are therefore commending the minister of the FCT for the proactive measures which have gone a long way in making Abuja residents safe.
Musa writes from Abuja