President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of at least one oxygen plant in each state of the federation to aid gas available for life support for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) patients.
Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, disclosed this on Tuesday during the task force’s media briefing in Abuja.
The SGF also disclosed that the Private Sector Coalition in the fight against COVID-19, (CACOVID) had committed to supply 100 cylinders of oxygen daily, until the end of March 2021, to critical care centres in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
According to him, all the efforts had been in a bid to save more Nigerian lives from the pangs of the dreaded infection.
“In the last two weeks, a lot has been discussed on case management and in particular, the availability of oxygen to save lives. We are pleased to inform you that the private sector – CACOVID has commenced supporting our response with 100 oxygen cylinders per day till the end of March, 2021, for distribution to critical care centres in Abuja.
“Furthermore, approval has been given to rehabilitate five oxygen plants across various tertiary health institutions in Abuja. The President has also approved that at least one oxygen plant should be established in each state of the federation immediately,” he said.
He noted that the unusually high turnout of number of infections in the last few days had come out to show the effect of the activities during the Christmas festivities, noting particularly that the highest number ever recorded since the national response commenced, was 1,204, which was published on Monday, January 4, 2021.
He, however, expressed the hope that the numbers, the way they had been coming out in recent times, would not escalate beyond the control of the national response.
“Closely associated with that is the increasing daily numbers that we are recording. Yesterday 4th January, 2021, we recorded 1,204 infections. This was the highest daily number ever recorded since we commenced the national response.
“From our analysis, we are beginning to see the effect of activities carried out during the Christmas festivities. We can only hope that numbers will not escalate beyond control. We however, still appeal to all citizens to take full responsibility through compliance and vigilance”, he said.
He, however, lamented the low testing rates, especially in most states of the federation, the provision of financial and other resources as support to all the state notwithstanding.
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“As we have always maintained, testing is a key strategy under the national response. To this end we can report that there are about 100 laboratories across the country. These are 71 public labs; 22 private labs and 7 corporate labs. Collectively, they are to help improve testing in the country.
“Regrettably, however, there is still very low testing in a number of states. For clarity, the DG NCDC will elaborate on the spheres of responsibility in testing and the Federal Government has sufficiently supported the States to enable them support surveillance and IPC”, he said.
He also bemoaned the spread of doubts about the existence of COVID-19 among a section of the public, calling on all Nigerians to join in the public enlightenment move.
“To overcome some of these challenges, the PTF will intensify the risk communication and community engagement to create awareness. The share level of doubts about the virus is alarming and I call on every one to become advocates in support of the National Response,” he said.
On federal government’s resolve to prevent an importation of the virus, including its new difficult strains into the country, Mustapha said the PTF had started sanctioning violators of international flights protocols in the country, adding that not less than 200,000 inbound passengers, who had violated the protocols had been penned for sanctions, adding that their identities would be published weekly going forward.
“Finally, I wish to confirm that the PTF has commenced the sanctions on passengers who defaulted on day-7 post arrival tests. Their passport numbers have been published and travel restriction imposed for a period of six months effective 1st January, 2021.
“Let me categorically state that the PTF has generated over 20,000 inbound passengers that have also defaulted. The publication will continue weekly till it is exhausted.
“Nigerians should be aware that every defaulter is a threat to public health which is unacceptable to us and represent a draw back to the National Response. We have a duty to advise our relations, friends, associates to comply with laid down rules. The DG (NCDC) and the National Coordinator will update you on this,” he said.