Image Credits: REUTERS.
The Presidential Task Force (PTF), on COVID-19 has said that Lagos, Kaduna and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), account for 70 per cent of Coronavirus infections in the country.
Chairman of PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha made this known during a national briefing on Monday, in Abuja.
Mustapha said that two major indicators highlight the current increase in cases and transmission across the country.
“Over the past four briefings, the PTF has been raising the alert flag on the rising number of infections in the country and the possibility of a second wave arriving at our shores.
“Recent epidemiology records confirm to the PTF 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.
“Particularly, Lagos, Kaduna and the FCT have emerged as the new epicentres during this period, with over 70 per cent of all confirmed cases,” he said.
The SGF said that, though the country’s testing numbers were fast approaching the peak recorded in July 2020, the number of cases being reported were disproportionately higher.
“For example, in the FCT, despite recording an increase of 85 per cent in tests conducted over the last week, the number of confirmed cases increased by 285 per cent during the same period.
“These trends point to a higher Test Positivity Rate (TPR) – the number of positive cases detected as a proportion of all tests.
“The TPR was below five per cent through September and October and we recorded a low point of three per cent nationally in late October.
“However, recent trends in cases have seen this number increase to 10 per cent in the second week of December,” he said.
The SGF said that the high numbers were further reflected in the increase of admissions to COVID-19 treatment centres and fatalities, particularly in the three epicentre states.
“The result of the analysis carried out by the PTF further indicate that the current pattern of spread and the surge is likely to be driven by the following factors:
“The lack of compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions particularly the disregard for mask use in public, large gatherings as a result of events linked to the yuletide season and recent civil demonstrations.
“Further disregard for other public health preventive measures, such as hand hygiene and physical distance requirements,” he said.
The SGF said that the activities and assumptions of the youthful population which had resulted in an increase in the infection rate among young people, who were subsequently infecting older and more vulnerable family members.
“From our assessment, the current situation is clearly the consequences of certain occurrences and events of the last few weeks,” he noted.
He said that sudden increase in social gatherings involving large congregations from different parts of the country, and the world, at events such as weddings, religious activities, political rallies, conferences and end of year celebrations could increase the spread.
“These events, classified globally as ‘supers-spreader events’, make the risk of a single infection causing a large outbreak among attendees significantly higher
“Furthermore, as we reopened the economy, we experienced increased economic, social and religious gatherings and activities all of which have combined to play a part in viral transmissions.
“These include the opening of the international airspace in September 2020 – while the average number of daily imported infections into the country in the last 90 days is estimated to be about seven cases, compared to 100-150 reported new infections in the community since the beginning of community transmission.
He added that the test positivity rate in travellers arriving Lagos had recently doubled to 6.3 per cent.
According to him, with the resumption of schools, outbreaks have been reported in some schools following the resumption of physical classes.
The resumption of NYSC orientation camps – this risk has been mitigated by ensuring that all NYSC members were screened for COVID-19 prior to admission to camp, but confirmed cases have still been identified through tests carried out.
The full opening of offices with the return to work of government workers from GL. 12 and below .
Outbreaks have also been reported in public office to overcrowding, poor ventilation and the lack of compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions, and,
The opening of the economy with progressive relaxation of restrictions in congregational areas such as places of worship, restaurants, bars, lounges, shopping, and event centres.
It would be recalled that the PTF established the Nigeria International Travel Portal for the control of possible importation of the virus.
Statistics show that a good percentage of in-bound travellers had breached the travel protocols thereby making surveillance and testing suffer undue setbacks.
The chairman disclosed that the PTF had concluded arrangements with the Nigeria Immigration Service to impose sanctions on these defaulters for breaching the public health protocols, within the ambit of the law.
He said that the PTF had surveyed developments and actions taken by governments around the world, assessed the domestic environment and have accordingly submitted its recommendations to Mr President on immediate measures to be taken. (NAN)