•Why beneficiaries of palliatives can’t be published, by minister
•HoSF directs senior officers to resume work Monday
The Federal Government yesterday said the successful treatment and discharge of 307 persons for COVID-19 in the country was an indication that the virus is curable. It, however, regretted the 51 deaths that had been recorded. It urged Nigerians not to escalate the spread of the disease by adhering to extant medical advisories.
This comes as the number of medical workers infected by the ailment hit 113. The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who stated this yesterday at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, observed that the recovery rate is 95 per cent or more, hence no need for stigmatisation or fear by people to hide or seek alternative treatment. He implored those with symptoms to come out for tests and overcome all inhibitive fears.
The minister clarified that not all 113 infected health workers were public employees, stressing that most of them work in private hospitals. His words: “We have frequently spoken against those who do not have prerequisite training and have no business handling coronavirus in private clinics. They do not take necessary precautions, and they risk infecting themselves and their families.”
Ehanire noted that the daily laboratory testing capacity had increased to 2,500 in 15 laboratories across the federation, adding that government was mulling local production to avert shortage of personal protective equipment (PPEs) in the country.
Also speaking, chairman of the task force and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, stated that Nigeria would develop own homegrown treatment for the novel coronavirus, enjoining all cure claimants to subject their claims to the protocols, processes and procedures.
He warned Nigerians not to mistake the easing of restrictions from next week for permission to act without care, as security agents had been instructed to respect the rights of citizens, while also ensuring strict enforcement.
“As we approach the commencement of the first of a three-phase easing of lockdown from Monday, May 4, 2020, it is important that Nigerians receive and digest the implementation guidelines. It is also important for states, law enforcement agents, trade associations, employers, businesses and citizens to understand their roles, obligations and responsibilities.
“Above all, we must understand that this is still a war against an unseen and potent enemy. No one should mistake the easing of restrictions for permission to act without care. The security agents have been instructed to respect the rights of citizens, while also ensuring strict enforcement,” the SGF explained.
Besides, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Social and Disaster Management, Sadiya Farouq, has advanced reasons why the beneficiaries of government’s COVID-19 palliatives could not be published amid the raging controversy thrown up by the social register for the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP).
She is of the view that the document can’t be made public, pointing out that it was against norms and human dignity to embark on such publication.
The minister spoke while responding to questions on the activities of her ministry at the PTF media briefing yesterday in Abuja. Some civil society organisations (CSOs) had allegedly written to the ministry requesting for the social register to be in public domain.
Also yesterday, the Head of Service of the Federation (HoSF), Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, directed officers on Grade Levels 14 and above, including those on essential services, to resume work next Monday. In a statement by the Director, Information in her office, Olawunmi Ogunmosule, the HoSF added that offices were to open thrice weekly – Monday, Wednesday and Friday – and would close 2pm daily.