The Presidential Task Force on the Control COVID-19 said the reported cases of people absconding from isolation centres is unhealthy for the fight against spread of the disease in the country.
Addressing journalists in Abuja Thursday, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and chairman of the Presidential Task Force, Mr Boss Mustapha, said such practice would put the lives of care-managers, frontline workers and other citizens at risk.
He said there was the need for state governments to provide adequate security in and around isolation facilities to prevent escape.
“The PTF has become aware of a number of challenges associated with management of the isolation centres. These have manifested in the form of protests over welfare, abscondment from centres and loud complaints based on the assumption by persons under observation, that drugs must be administered.
“The first two are unhealthy developments capable of undermining the containment measures and putting the lives of care managers and frontline workers at risk. Similarly, persons in isolation are encouraged to follow the direction and instructions of the experts during their stay as treatment to be administered would largely depend on the evaluation of the doctor.
“We however urge all state gGovernments to continue to pay attention to the welfare of people in isolation and for security agencies to provide adequate security around such facilities to prevent escape,” he said.
The SGF said the current fight against COVID-19 was like a war, hence the need for all to resist attempts by few individuals or groups to endanger the lives of others.
“It is important to remember that this is a war in which every Nigerian is a combatant and must resist any effort by a few individuals or groups, to endanger our collective survival,” he said.
He said reports from various parts of the country indicate “high level of non-compliance with the ban on inter-state travels,” stressing that there was the need for Nigerians to continue to comply with the guidelines issued under phase one of the eased restrictions.
“These are unusual times and the seemingly calm atmosphere should not be construed as a return to normalcy. Non-compliance is manifesting in several ways and could be costly in the future.”
He regretted that reports from various parts of the country showed a high level of non-compliance with the ban on inter-state travels. “This resulted in a high number of vehicles finding their way across many state borders despite the curfew/border restrictions; Lack of respect for timing and the curfew also resulted in heavy traffic gridlock where many motorists spent the night following the enforcement of the curfew; Increasing level of abuse of exemption granted to vehicles conveying specified goods.
“Reports across the country show that they continue to hide passengers with the intention of ferrying them across state boundaries; and Continual transportation of Almajiris across state borders is still evident.
“I have highlighted the foregoing as it relates to the road transportation sector to underscore the dangers inherent in the seeding of the virus across states. I however commend the security agencies for their vigilance in apprehending and prosecuting violators.
“It is, worrisome, however, to note reports received about isolated cases of compromise by some security operatives. We urge the various commands of the security agencies to enhance their monitoring machinery to ensure that we do not only achieve the objective of stopping the spread of the virus but also prevent the good name of the services from being tarnished,” he said.
He also called on Nigerians to alert the security agencies whenever they witness the violation of the stipulated guidelines.
The SGF also spoke on the reported cases of inventions and cures related to COVID-19 in and outside the country.
“The PTF, as part of its mandate, remains supportive of and receptive to outcomes of research. It however finds it imperative to re-iterate its position on the need for such discoveries to undergo the scientific validation processes.
“The PTF is aware that the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Department, of the Federal Ministry of Health, has been evaluating such claims and forwarded some that have met the preliminary requirements to the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to carry out the necessary procedures for listing,” he said.
The SGF also told journalists that the Nigerian Institute of Architects has conveyed the commitment of its members in all states of the federation to offer free consultancy services (design, remodeling, supervision etc) for COVID-19 related infrastructure such as isolation centres, test laboratories and upgrading of health facilities.