As coronavirus continred to spread in the country, Presidential Task Force, PTF on COVID-19 Pandemic has cautioned the public to distace themselves from quarantined returnees from foreign countries.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF and Chairman of the PTF, Mr Boss Mustapha, gave the warning on Thursday at a press briefing by the task force in Abuja.
Mustapha warned that such visitors were potentially dangerous to public health.
The SGF had lamented reports and viral videos depicting unsafe practices around the quarantine locations of those evacuated from the United Arab Emirates, UAE, United Kingdom, UK and the United States of America, USA.
He particularly advised those being quarantined to decline visits from their friends and loved ones for the period they would be in observation, noting that the disease for which they were being kept away had a high contagious nature.
According to him, “The PTF is saddened by the conduct of some of the returnees who fail to adhere to the conditions attached to their quarantine”
“The PTF reported the progress made with the evacuation of some Nigerians from the UAE, UK & USA. We also informed you about the mandatory quarantine protocol. Nigerians have in recent days been served with different audio-visual clips by some of these returnees.
“I strongly urge them to obey the rules in the facilities and also urge their friends and relations to recognize the contagious nature of the disease by desisting from visiting them. Complying is in the interest of the visiting relation and in the overall public interest”, he said.
Mustapha also emphasized the importance of allowing and encouraging farmers to take advantage of the current farming season, adding that farmers were part of those exempted by President Muhammadu Buhari from the series of restrictions issued to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
He, however, called on state governments, local government council authorities as well as security agencies, to afford farmers unfettered access, noting that Nigeria could not afford food insecurity as the nation’s security depended on its food security.
He said, “You will recall that when the new measures were rolled out and published, we ensured that certain economic activities pertaining to food production and distribution were exempted. This, for the avoidance of doubts includes farming activities.
“We recognize the fact that we are in the planting season and the nation cannot afford to prevent our hardworking farmers from going to their farms. We therefore use this medium to reemphasize that farmers fall within the list of exemptions and urge State Governors, Local Government Authorities and security agencies to please allow them to carry out their activities. Our food security is critical to our national security”
Mustapha also pointed to the fact that the testing strategy adopted by the task force had proven to be successful, even as it had confirmed the fact that Nigeria now had the capacity to give care to all those who needed it.
“The statistics on COVID 19 have continued to come out daily and the indications are that our testing strategy is yielding results because we can now give care to those that need it.
“The PTF wishes to congratulate all our frontline health workers that have collectively nursed back to health, a total of 1,071 Nigerians already discharged from the various isolation treatment centres. These health workers have put in all, even beyond the call of duty, to save lives. We also congratulate all those that have been discharged and urge them to come out and tell their stories.
“We need to tell Nigerians that COVID-19 is real, that it is deadly and that prevention is better than cure. There is no better convincing and compelling evidence of the reality of the dangers than your experience”, he said.