…blames evacuees for recent spike of cases in Lagos
As part of protocols guiding international flights beginning from August 29th, passengers will be required to procure Coronavirus certification seven days ahead of the scheduled flights before boarding to their destinations.
This new protocols were announced yesterday by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the control of the spread of the COVID-19 chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha.
According to the PTF, the recent spike in the recorded cases of the disease infection in Lagos was caused by those evacuees, who tested positive on landing in Lagos.
Explaining the adjustment in the protocols for international travelers, the PTF National Coordinator, Dr. Sani Aliyu, said travelers would be required to possess COVID-19 valid certification obtained from any of the certified private laboratories in the country seven days ahead of their departure date.
According to him, there are nine of such registered laboratories in the country which could carry out PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests at a cost to whoever is interested. Of the nine accredited laboratories, seven (7) are in Lagos while two (2) are in Abuja.
Aliyu said those returning home from abroad from the 29th of August will also be expected to have same certificate showing their status after which they are equally expected to undergo another COVID-19 test seven (7) days after their arrival in the country.
Asked why government shunned the responsibility for the PCR test for the travelers, Aliyu explained that the government lacked the capacity to take on the magnitude of the number of international passengers thronging in and out of the country on daily basis.
On the importation of the diseases by the evacuees to spike number of cases in the country, the PTF Chairman said: “Prior to the reopening of the airspace, the PTF had put in place Point of Entry Protocols to minimize importation.
Unfortunately, the validation process for the preboarding PCR test have shown that 64 per cent of recent spike in number of confirmed cases in Lagos (404) on Saturday 22nd August came from the evacuees.
“Over the weekend, 252 additional Nigerians were evacuated from the United Arab Emirates, which has brought the total number of Nigerians that have returned home to 4,984. We shall intensify the validation process for the PCR tests to minimize risks.”
Mustapha also disclosed that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has provided guidelines for the use of mask for children of 11 years and above to check the community phase of the spread of the disease. He however counseled that children with compromised immune system should always wear their masks.
The PTF Chairman said that the news of the infection of the Commissioner of Health, Lagos State, Akin Abayomi, by the disease was saddening. He however wished him and others front liners infected on the line of duty quick recovery.
According to him, the infection of the Commissioner only showed that the disease was not a respecter of anybody and therefore called for personal responsibility from everyone.
“This unexpected news is a grim reminder that the virus is no respecter of persons or the positions they hold. Everyone is at risk and we must take responsibility. What the announcement of Prof. Abayomi has shown is that stigmatization has no place in our national response and that COVID-19 is not a death sentence.
We therefore thank all those that have come out to announce their status and/or tell their stories and we urge Nigerians to take a queue to eliminate disbelief and skepticism,” he said.