By Frank Ikpefan and Moses Emorinken, Abuja
- Plateau now epicentre
- Flights resume Sept. 5
Going by the claim of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Control, Lagos State is no longer the epicentre of the Coronavirus infections.
The Centre of Excellence had passed its COVID-19 peak, PTF Chairman Boss Mustapha said at a briefing in Abuja on Thursday.
According to him, the epicentre of the infection is now Plateau State, which has recorded high cases of infection in the past few days.
Mustapha, who rated Nigeria above average in curtailing the spread of the pandemic, six months after the index case in the country, recalled that Lagos, Kano and Ogun states used to be the epi-centres.
He said the epicentre, which at a point shifted to Oyo State, has now moved to Plateau State.
Mustapha said: “It is with all sense of modesty that I wish to state that Nigeria has done remarkably well, but can do exceedingly better as captured in President Muhammadu Buhari’s speech during the World Health Certification-Free status for the African continent.
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“As we enter the last week of the extended eased lock-down phase, and note the impressively declining fatality ratio and reduction of confirmed cases, the PTF will like to draw attention to a subtle change in epicentre of the virus.”
Reiterating that Lagos had passed its peak, the PTF chairman called for more vigilance in observing the COVID-19 protocols and cautious optimism because the scourge was not over yet.
He said: “Our strategic objective still remains to test samples in high numbers across the entire nation.
“It is therefore, in the above context that the PTF re-emphasises it calls to every citizen to take responsibility by complying with all guidelines and non-pharmaceutical measures.
“These include wearing of mask, maintaining social distance, avoiding large gatherings, maintaining regular hygienic and most importantly staying at home for the most vulnerable.”
The Federal Government also announced September 5 for the resumption of international flights, explaining that it never gave an August 29 date, contrary to reports that the restart would be tomorrow.
President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the suspension of international flights in March to curb the influx of imported cases of virus into the country.
Announcing the resumption date, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Director-General Captain Musa Nuhu said: “Since the announcement by the Minister of Aviation that international flights will resume anytime from the 29th of August, the aviation sector has worked assiduously to be ready for this date.
“The aviation sector, including the airports, are already working towards this line. However, we have other non-aviation logistics we are still working on and it has mostly to do with COVID protocols test and open the online platform.
“We need to get this ready to have a smooth and efficient resumption of the international flights without difficulties for all the passengers.
“So, for this reason, unfortunately, I have to let you know the resumption date has been shifted by one week and it is now 5th of September which is now a sacrosanct date.
“The initial announcement was anytime from 29th of August but now, we have fixed a date; 5th of September to ensure that the sacrosanct date for the resumption of international flight.”
Nuhu said a comprehensive list of countries that will not be allowed to fly into Nigeria would be released next week.
“In due course and very shortly, we will announcing the protocols once the logistics are done, the protocols for the resumption and also further details on the principles of reciprocity that we mentioned will be given. We are looking at a list and we are working on that and hopefully early next week, we will release it.”
The Federal Government expressed hope the reopening of the Nigerian to international flights would boost the economy.