Cover Health

COVID-19: FG maps out 3-yr Response Plan, says disease’ll remain for long time

…Laments non compliance with measures

By Hassan Zaggi

The Federal Ministry of Health has developed Health Sector Response Plan which will cover the next 3 years divided into near, medium and long term.

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) media briefing in Abuja, Monday, reiterating that “COVID-19 will be with us for a long time.”

According to him: “We shall keep learning as we go along. Accordingly, the Ministry of Health has developed a Health Sector Response Plan to cover the next 3 years divided into near, medium and long term.

“This plan therefore should be able to project into the future for at least three years.

“No doubt, it will require modification and updating as we learn more about the disease.”

Ehanire, therefore, appealed to Nigerians to adhere to all advisories and guidelines.

“Wash your hands regularly or use alcohol based hand sanitizers, maintain physical distancing and use your face mask at all times when outside your home,” he said.

The Minister advised those who test positive to the COVID-19 to quickly present themselves for treatment at the centre.

This advice, he noted, is very important for people who have underlying ailments including diabetes, hypertension or are above the age of 60

“The reason is that COVID-19 symptoms can start mildly with slight fever, cough, loss of sense of smell or taste, but suddenly escalate to shortness of breath in no time.

“Lagos State reports that people who delay going to hospital and treating themselves first at home are the majority of victims, some barely making it to the doorstep of the hospital,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has lamented that in the past few days, the PTF had observed what it described as “an escalation of the level of non-compliance with simple measure to keep social distancing, wearing of masks in public places, sanitation and hygiene.

“This is more prevalent in markets, motor parks and some places of worship.

“I wish to remind you that the PTF has already issued guidelines for mode of operations at places of worship and urge state Governments to ensure strict compliance with PTF guidelines.”

Mustapha reiterated that the all relaxed measures are still subject to review and advisories issued are for personal and public safety purposes.

The breach of the ban on inter-state travels, he noted, is also a point of concern.

He, therefore, appealed to state governments to embark on wider community testing, enforce rules on social distancing, step up community engagement and risk communication and pay attention to places of large gatherings.

“We also appeal to the security agencies to enforce the ban on inter-state travels very strictly.

“We have received reports that some states are contemplating the reopening of schools, television viewing centres, sports stadium and other places of where large gatherings could take place.

“The PTF re-emphasises that it is not yet safe to do so and that utmost caution should be exercised.

“The PTF guideline should still be complied with while considering decision of this nature.”

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