Remarks by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation/Chair of the PTF-COVID-19 at the national press briefing of Monday, 3rd August, 2020

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I welcome you all to the National Briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 for Monday, 3rd August, 2020.
2.​The PTF welcomes all Nigerians back from the Eid-El-Kabir celebrations and wishes to express her appreciation to all the State Governors that put in place the necessary protocols to ensure social distancing and correct wearing of masks during the Eid festivities. The ban placed on traditional Eid activities like the Durbar and other activities of mass gathering by sub-national entities also helped in reducing opportunities for community spread.
3.​The PTF also wishes to appreciate our religious leaders for leading the risk communication efforts. We wish to enjoin you not to relent because the partnership we have formed will go a long way in ensuring that we win this way from the rural areas right up to the urban centres.
4.​For our countrymen and women who still habour skepticism about the existence and dangers posed by the virus, we urge you to imbibe a change of behavior by complying with the non-pharmaceutical measures prescribed. This appeal remains in your own interest and in the interest of your loved ones. Remember, always wear your mask, observe social distancing, avoid large gatherings and maintain proper hygiene.
5.​Over the one-week period that the PTF could not brief the nation, global numbers have been rising. As at Sunday, August 2, 2020 the cumulative global cases went up to 18,216,962 while deaths reached 692,280. Let me emphasise that as at 29th July, global cases were around 17 million, but by the 2nd of August, 2020 the cases had increased by one million and it took only four days for this to occur.
6.​Six months ago when the WHO declared the novel corona virus as public health emergency of international concern, there were no confirmed cases in Africa. However, as at 2nd August, 2020, the cumulative cases in Africa had reached 961,219 while deaths stood at 20,346.  In Nigeria, the number of cases had also gone up to 43,841 while deaths stood at 888 by the bench mark date.
7.​I want to remind us that the global increase in number of confirmed cases of the virus still calls for increased vigilance, committed adherence to protocols and determination to take personal responsibility.
8.​Just before the Sallah break, the second phase of the eased lockdown was extended by one week. We assured Nigerians that the railway transportation system would be partially opened on Wednesday 29th July with the commencement of the Abuja-Kaduna rail services. I am pleased to confirm that the promise has been kept with full compliance with the measures prescribed.
9.​Similarly, we informed you about the date that exit examination classes in schools would reopen preparatory to the commencement of examination. I wish to restate that the Education sector is critical for the development of our children and our nation. Reopening the sector is also a source of concern based on the fact that the school system remains a veritable ground for increasing community transmission if appropriate protocols are not put in place and more importantly adhered to. In this regard, the PTF wishes to implore stakeholders to ensure that the agreed protocols are put in place and measures strictly adhered to.
10.​The PTF continues to push forward with the Community engagement, risk communication and support to States. There is an on-going surveillance in the high burden Local Government Areas just as we ramp up our precision efforts. Similarly, the Federal Government is  supporting the States to firm up their Incidence Action Plans preparatory to their accessing the World Bank facility for the fight against COVID-19.
11.​The National Response would continue to guide the adoption of sector specific guidelines and protocols just as the PTF is currently concluding discussions with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on appropriate guidelines to be adopted for elections beginning with the August 8th Bye-Election in Nasarawa Sate to be followed by those for Edo and Ondo States in September and October respectively. I, therefore, wish to use this opportunity to implore party leaders, aspirants, members and supporters to remain mindful of the virulent nature of COVID-19 during electioneering campaigns and other election processes. We need to remain alive to enjoy the benefits of our democracy.
12.​The PTF wishes to thank all Nigerians that continue to respond to call for involvement in the National Response.  In this regard, we thank the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, for donating four motorized modular fumigators (two each to the PTF and the FCT).
13.​In the same vein, we want to appreciate the UN Basket and European Union for delivering the second tranche of the PPEs, medical supplies and equipment.
14.​Ladies and gentlemen, as mentioned during our last press briefing of Monday 27th July, 2020, the PTF will submit its 6th Interim Report to Mr. President and subject to his approval, we hope to present the way forward to Nigerians at the next briefing on Thursday 6th August, 2020.
15.​I am happy to inform you that, as the ECOWAS Champion on the Containment of COVID-19 in the West African Sub-Region, Mr. President made a donation of N67million worth of PPEs and medical supplies to the government and people of Sao Tome and Principe.
16.​Mr. President’s leadership of this regional effort would be more impactful if Nigerians demonstrate that our National Response could be replicable in other West African countries by changing their behavior.
17.​The PTF wishes to use this opportunity to appreciate the group of survivors that have added their voices to the campaign against stigmatization and urge the rest of us to always remember that COVID-19 is not a death sentence and we need to be supportive of one another. Most importantly, lets wear our masks properly, stay at home especially for those above 60 years, maintain social distancing and continue to take personal responsibility while we encourage others to do same.
18.​I now invite the Honorable Minister of Health, the DG NCDC and the NC to present their updates.
19.​I thank you all for listening.
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