Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and head of Covid 19 Presidential Task Force, Boss Gida Mustapha has said that coronavirus outbreak has forced Nigeria to reconstruct its health infrastructure.
“By and large, we are also satisfied from where we have started from. We started with two laboratory tests. Today, we have 60 in 31 States plus the Federal Capital Territories (FCT), Abuja. Are we returning to two laboratories after this? No.
“It means that the reconstruction of our health infrastructure has begun. We are working hard to ensure that this month, the entire nation is covered with testing facilities.
“We are working with CACOVID and NNPC to ensure that before the end of this pandemic, we have at least a structure that can be defined as a proper molecular laboratory, a testing facility, an isolation facility, and an ICU facility integrated into one.”
Boss Mustapha, who spoke to newsmen today, August 5, after submitting the mid term report of the Task Force to the President at the presidential villa, Abuja, said that with the help of the media and other stakeholders, most Nigerians now believed that coronavirus is real.
He said that what is lacking mainly is enforcement “and my appeal is that the sub-nationals should ensure enforcement.
“As a matter of fact, when we listed some of our challenges, top on the list is lack of enforcement of even the regulations that have been put in place. “As a result of signing the Quarantine Regulation, it’s a regulation, it’s a law, but you see, the issue of enforcement has been lacking and it’s not only in this area and like keep saying, most times that COVID-19 has exposed the weaknesses of our systems, all systems, not only the Nigerian system, even the American system, its inadequacies, despite its 300 years of democracy, have been exposed by COVID-19.
“if not, how can a President
be arguing with the mayor of a city as to who has authority over what happens? It means there’s a big gap in that system.
“I believe that if we can just work on the enforcement aspect of it, which is the responsibility of the sub-nationals, we will go a long way.”
Boss Mustapha cautioned that the fact that about 10,000 coronavirus patients were discharged the previous day did not mean Uhuru, saying that as those patients were being discharged, there was a decrease in the testings.
“In the last couple of days, we tested just barely 2,000 across the nation, but we have a testing capacity of much more than 2,000.
“Another reason is that everybody is still in the Sallah mood, even the essential workers. Remember when I talked of fatigue, this is part of it. We’ve been doing this thing for the last three to four months. It get to a point when you want to lay back and say we are already overcoming this, but I know that in the next couple of days, the testing will be rampart because people would have come out of the Sallah celebrations and come back to work.
“The sub-nationals and local governments will begin to go into the communities to search because this is the point at which you have to go into the local communities and begin to search. If you don’t do that, so much is happening as a result of the community transmission that has been cascaded into the local communities that if you wait for it to present itself, it will present itself in a very explosive manner and we can get into a panic mode.
“We don’t want to have that, that is why we are encouraging the state governments to go into the local communities to ensure that they search for those infected with this virus, test them, if they are positive, isolate them and provide care for them.”