The Presidential Task Force on Control of COVID-19 said Monday that the declaration of industrial action by the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) is capable of reducing the gains recorded so far on the fight against the virus and lead to more loss of lives.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and chairman of Presidential Task Force, Mr Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this at a briefing in Abuja, said complacency must be avoided at all cost.
“One critical element we must not loose sight of is the fact that our cautious approach has tremendously helped in our containment efforts. Therefore, we should avoid complacency at all cost. Our focus should go beyond flattening the curve and ridding our land of this virus just as we did with the polio virus.
“The contribution of our health workers has no doubt contributed to our gains. In this regard, the PTF wishes to appreciate the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) for calling off their strike action. The PTF, however, views the recent declaration of industrial action by the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) as rather unfortunate and capable of reducing our gains and endangering more loss of lives.
“We, therefore, call on JOHESU to stand up to be counted at this critical moment because a continuation of the strike could jeopardize the small gains made in the fight against the virus and the efforts to transform our health systems.
“The Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment has assured that every effort is being made to resolve all issues and have JOHESU call its members back to work,” he said.
The PTF chairman expressed President Muhammadu Buhari’s appreciation for keeping the country’s land borders closed because they are potential seeding points for importing the virus into Nigeria.
“More so, as ECOWAS Champion of the COVID-19 response, Mr. President should adopt all practical means of containing the virus within the sub-continent of West Africa.
“The PTF has received with encouragement, the recent United Nations General Assembly omnibus resolution seeking for a comprehensive and coordinated global response to the coronavirus pandemic which further amplifies the significance of Mr. President’s role in the West African Region,” he said.
On the reopening of schools, the SGF reiterated federal government’s call for state governments to be more vigilant in adhering to protocols appropriately developed with the guidance of experts.
“The PTF is aware that a number of sub-nationals have announced the re-opening of schools from this week, while others have developed a phased plan for such re-opening. I wish to re-iterate the need for more vigilance in adhering to protocols appropriately developed with the guidance of experts.
“The fear of a likely spike and/or resurgence should always put us on our toes. Always remember that a number of countries including Israel have announced new stringent measures. These are warning signs for us in Nigeria and Africa,” he said.