SECRETARY to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, has cautioned state governments on reopening of schools, as COVID-19 remains potent.
He gave the warning on Monday in Abuja at the joint national briefing of the taskforce.
According to Mustapha, as the nation plans to re-open more sectors, everyone must stay the course and stick with the strategy, which is hinged on the capacity of health institutions to contain the virus.
He said: “While citizens wear facemasks properly, stay away from crowded places, avoid mass gatherings, maintain simple hygienic practices and protect the elderly and vulnerable.”
Mustapha noted that it is in this regard that the PTF appreciates the on-going calls for re-opening of the education sector.
He said that in making plans to reopen schools and other sectors, “we need to be guided by experiences from countries such as Germany, France, United States and the UK where opening of schools in some cities led to an increase in confirmed cases and fatalities.”
The SGF said that as the nation entered the last few days of the extended eased lockdown phase of the Nation’s National Response this week, the PTF, noted a series of new developments around the characteristics of the pandemic.
According to him, the number of confirmed cases globally has exceeded the 25 million mark and this is attributable to a resurgence in countries hitherto considered to have effectively contained the virus.
The development must have led to a countries, which hitherto had relaxed restrictions, were re-introducing such more stringently.
Said Mustapha: “The PTF has observed that South Africa is no longer in the top five with the global cumulative cases. It has similarly observed that Ethiopia is also rising strongly.
“The PTF will continue to monitor developments all over Africa even as we prepare to open up the international air space for flights.
“The PTF has also observed that from the point the global numbers entered the 20th million, growth in cases has been on the average of a million cases every four to five days.
“For us in Nigeria, the last three weeks have shown a slowdown in the number of confirmed cases.
“Indeed, in the last four months of testing, the lowest daily figure of confirmed cases, 138 was reported on August 30, 2020.”