We’ve to adjust to live with COVID-19, says Minister

By Hassan Zaggi

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has admonished Nigerians to prepare their minds to live with COVID-19 as it will not go any soon.

Speaking at a media briefing organised by the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, in Abuja, Monday, the Minister said: “There is no doubt that, in the long run, we shall have to live with COVID-19 and so must design a way to do so.

“The plan will vary from country to country, depending on their situation, strengths and weaknesses.

“The search for, and pathway to such sustainability will need to be thoroughly interrogated from all angles, and continuously reviewed to align with prevailing circumstances.

“There can be no “one-size-fits-all” and countries need to seek the best of both safety and socio-economic normalization.”

He, therefore, called onall citizens to avail themselves of the opportunity of the second phase of vaccine deployment, to be vaccinated.

“I also call on those who received their first dose to go for the second dose, when due, to optimize protection from infection,” he stressed.

While commenting on the striking doctors, the Minister assured them the current administration has a good history of paying debts it inherited from previous administrations, hence, will pay them the monies owned them.

“With this, I call on striking doctors to put an end to their industrial action immediately and return to work.

“Nigeria has been lucky with the relatively low impact of COVID-19 so far, and we need to keep our preparedness optimal. We cannot afford to stretch our luck too far,” he noted.

He, however, warned that even though the “dreaded 3rd wave of COVID-19 may appear to be leveling out, because there been no catastrophic increases in infections and fatalities, it is not wise to assume that the threat is gone, especially as cases are fluctuating and have to be identified by genomic sequencing.

“Evidence so far, however, is that the Delta strain is already the dominant in Nigeria. We must keep our protective measures in place and increase testing to determine our situation.

There are reports of new coronavirus mutations circulating in other countries, a development we shall monitor with all tools available to us, to ensure we respond appropriately.

“We also remain on alert at Points of Entry, including land and sea borders, to confront importation of COVID-19,” he noted.

Speaking, the Chairman of the PSC, Boss Mustapha, called on all eligible persons to come out and be vaccinated, stressing that there are various choices now.

“We have AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson and we expect Pfizer to be delivered very soon.

“There will be enough vaccines to go round soon. By the second quarter of 2022, we would have received about 52 million doses of the vaccines,” he noted.

He, therefore, called on all those travelling outside the country to carry with them their vaccination cards and details in the electronic devices.

“To ease travels for fully vaccinated Nigerians, we are exploring the principles of reciprocity between Nigeria and other nations.

“For the time being, Nigerians are advised to always carry their vaccination card details or barcode on their electronic devices for easy access especially for those travelling outside the country.

“Efforts are on-going to implement the policy on Vaccine Mandate for all Federal Public Servants. This is to ensure safety in the workplace and at home,” he said.

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