COVID-19: PTF lists resistance to change as greatest challenge to national response

COVID-19: PTF lists resistance to change as greatest challenge to national response

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic has listed resistance to change as the greatest challenge it had faced in managing the national response against the pandemic.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF and Chairman of the PTF, Mr Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this during Thursday’s media briefing by the task force in Abuja, also warned citizens not to let their guards down against the disease in view of the relaxation of the lockdown.

The PTF used the briefing to mark the third month of the inauguration of the nation’s national response.

Mustapha said the warning against letting guards down became very pertinent considering the fact that there had arisen a new wave of the disease in some parts of the world, adding that the raining season, which usually could increase the risk of contacting ailments resembling COVID-19 symptoms.

He said besides resistance to change by nationals, other challenges facing the national response were non-availability of a cure, inadequate manpower and infrastructure, the effect of the outbreak on the economy as well as scarcity of kits and equipment needed to fight the spread of the virus.

“Like the rest of the world, our National Response continues to face challenges, especially as there is no known cure for the virus, presently. These include inadequate infrastructure, manpower shortage, global shortage of essential items (test kits, PPE), strain on the economy which has compelled the need to balance between lives and livelihoods.

“By far the greatest challenges are human resistance to change, stigmatization, mental health, skepticism, culture, religious belief, rising incidents of domestic violence and a host of others.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the COVID-19 has changed our ways of life and we may never go back to what we used to know,” he said.

Warning against letting guards against contracting the disease down, the SGF said “always remember, that the virus is real, potent and dangerous. Our relaxed lock down should never be interpreted to mean otherwise.

“This point is further underscored by reported resurgence of a second wave in countries like China and the USA and this should put all of us on alert, knowing that this virus can only be eliminated if we agree to play our part.

“This call becomes more pertinent as we go fully into the rainy season that ordinarily brings with it cold, catarrh and other COVID-19 mimicking illnesses. Our call to take personal responsibility cannot be more strident than now,” he said.

While recalling the terms of reference given to the committee, Mustapha enumerated some of what he called the modest achievements it has recorded within the period.

He said “there has, no doubt, been some modest achievements, challenges and lessons learned over the past three months. The COVID-19 is certainly the greatest invisible public health emergency that has threatened humanity in modern history.

“As at the last recorded numbers on Wednesday 17th June, 2020, global figures of confirmed cases were 8,408, 203 resulting in 451,463 deaths in 213 countries. Unfortunately, as at the same period, Nigeria accounts for 17,735 and 469 fatalities.

“Ladies and gentlemen, these are not just numbers. They are our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, friends and colleagues. These fatalities are forceful reminders of the task before us all.

“Although the PTF has planned a full mid-term report with larger stakeholders Groups on 2nd and 3rd July, 2020, we nevertheless find it necessary to share with you some of the high points of the last three months.

“The Presidential Task Force has the following functional working areas through which it implements its objectives. These are: PTF National Pandemic Response Center (NPRC) Coordination; Epidemiology & Surveillance; Risk Communication & Community Engagement and Laboratory.

Others are Security, Logistics & Mass Care; Points of Entry; Resource Mobilization; Infection, Prevention & Control; Research, Case Management; Finance Monitoring & Compliance.”

Speaking further, the task force chairman said since inception, several measures had been instituted by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the PTF to curtail the spread of the disease and protect the health of Nigerians.

He recalled that these include: initial lockdown of Lagos and Ogun States as well as the FCT; Ban on flights to prevent importation; Ban on inter-state travels and domestic flights; closure of schools and religious centres; Imposition of nationwide curfew; and Easing of the lockdown in phases to allow for gradual reopening of the economy.

Similarly, he said, the task force has prescribed measures to be observed, to prevent spread such as: Mandatory use of non-medical face mask/covering in public spaces; Mandatory provision of handwashing facilities/sanitizers; Extensive temperature checks in all public spaces; Physical distancing of two metres between people in workplaces and other public spaces; and Prohibition of gathering of more than 20 persons outside of a workplace.

Quest News 24

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *