President Muhammadu Buhari has extended the mandate of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 until March 2021.
He gave the approval on Tuesday at a meeting with members of the task force at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
At the meeting, President Buhari also received the end-of-year report of the task force led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha.
” Recent reports reaching me indicate that Nigeria is now facing a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide which is similar to the second wave of infections occurring in other countries across the world.
“New epicentres have been identified and the nation cannot afford to lose the gains of the last nine months. I have critically evaluated the situation and remain convinced that urgent measures have to be taken to halt the spread and the attendant fatalities.
Closely associated with the foregoing is the need to speedily and strategically access and administer the COVID vaccine in a safe, effective and timely manner. This is an important obligation that we owe Nigerians as we go into year 2021 and it must be carried out through an efficient machinery.”
” That the PTF should coordinate the process for planning and the strategy for accessing, delivery, and administration of the vaccines using the existing health structures that have worked in the past in vaccine administration;
He also authorised the PTF to engage with the States for them to assume full ownership of this stage of the response by deploying legal structures and resources, including enforcement to manage the pandemic within their jurisdictions.
President Buhari also authorised the PTF and the Nigeria Immigration Service to ensure that all in-bound passengers who failed to show up for post-arrival COVID-19 test are sanctioned within the ambit of the law, for breaching the public health protocols.
The President added that “the nation is clearly in a perilous situation given the virulent nature of this second wave and we must act decisively to protect our people.
“I therefore urge all sub-national entities, traditional rulers, religious and leaders of thought to collaborate with the PTF by taking up the responsibility for risk communication and community engagement at all levels. Now is the time for collective efforts to be intensified.
“As the festive season approaches, I urge all Nigerians to remain vigilant and stay safe. Non-essential trips and large social gatherings should be avoided or shelved completely.”
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