Facts have emerged indicating that from tomorrow, June 1, states will be fully saddled with managing and controlling of coronavirus.
Speaking to news men today, May 31 shortly after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa in Abuja, the chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, Boss Mustapha, confirmed that the “ownership of the next stage (of coronavirus control) will be the responsibility of the states and the national supervision and coordination.”
He said that this is because the nation had gone into community transmission. “Where are the communities? The communities are in the states. So the ownership of the next stage will be the responsibility of the states, the local government, the traditional institutions, the religious leaders at the different levels of our communities because that is where the problem is.
“Like we have kept saying, 20 local governments out of 774 account for 60% of confirmed cases in Nigeria today. So where are these 20 local governments? They are in communities. It means we have reached the apex of community transmission and we must get the communities involved.
“So the issue of places of worships, the issue of schools, the issue of some certain businesses that were not opened hitherto are part of the packages that we have looked at and we’ve made the appropriate recommendations, but you know that Mr President is the only one that can take decisions in respect of that.
“In the framework, the states are subnationals. They have their own responsibilities too, so it is in the exercise of those responsibilities that they had meetings with those religious bodies and agreed on the guidelines and protocols on how they open up, but in the framework of the national response, we are taking that into consideration.”
On whether Nigeria is winning the fight against coronavirus, considering the rate of infections, Boss Mustapha, who is the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), confirmed: “we are winning.
“As a matter of fact, you juxtapose the rate of cases with our fatality rate, which is basically about 3%, in other countries and other climes, it’s over 10%, but the most important thing that you will realise, when we started this exercise, we had only five testing stations, now we’ve ramped it up to 28, without correspondent increase in the number of deaths. We’ve gone beyond 60,000 now, that reflects in the number of confirmed cases.
“We’ve not reached the peak yet and I won’t want to fool Nigerians by telling them that we are out of the woods. No, we are not out of the woods. As we even open up and accommodate more enterprises, because we are trying to have a balance between livelihoods and life, there’s a likelihood of increase in transmission in cases.
“But that should not be a source of despair. Like we’ve always said, the experts will tell you over 80% will contact Coronavirus and will not even notice that they have and that accounts for what is happening at the isolation centres when you see young men saying they are not sick and asking why they are being kept there. They are asymptomatic, they don’t show symptoms and they will ware it out.
“There’s a 20% that is critical by virtue of certain factors, indices: age, underlying health conditions and vulnerability. That’s the percentage we are trying to protect and if we don’t do something in terms of management, in terms of putting in non-pharmaceutical intervention and guidelines to protect that 20%, about 5% of them can fall critically ill and eventually become fatalities in the numbers and that’s what we are trying to avoid.
“So everything we are emplacing is to ensure we protect this vulnerable 20%. 80% will ware it out so the figure isn’t a thing of major concern. Yesterday when I saw the 553 I called the governor of Lagos, I thought he was going to be under intense pressure, but surprisingly he said no, that it was expected because testing has been ramped up and as you ramp up your testing, it reveals what is happening in your community that prepares better for the kind of management care you will put in place.
“We are not worried about it as to whether the numbers will increase? They will increase.”