Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, has apologised for the unintended violation of the established protocols to contain the virus during Saturday’s burial of Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari, in Abuja.
Mustapha at the daily briefing of the task force in Abuja on Monday, regretted that the incident went against the messaging that the task force has been passing to Nigerians.
There was outrage when pictures emerged from both the prayer session for the deceased and his subsequent interment showing huge number of mourners who gathered with little regard for the protocols.
Mustapha, who was present at the ceremonies, said lesson had been learnt, assuring that measures would be put in place to correct observed lapses.
He said: “The PTF recognises, regrettably, the unintentional violation of the principles and protocols that form the core of our messaging to Nigerians, at the funeral of the Chief of Staff. These principles for emphasis, include: the guidance provided on mass gatherings; social distancing; personal hygiene; and restriction of movements.
“Lessons have been learnt and appropriate measures have been taken to close all gaps. We assure all Nigerians of their safety and the determination of the PTF to combat the pandemic.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the PTF has warned that based on the rising number of coronavirus cases, the end of the situation was not in sight stressing that there was the need to focus on the strategy of increased testing, isolation and management of confirmed cases.
“Given the increase in the number of confirmed cases in the last week, the PTF remains conscious of the fact that we are far from the end of this outbreak in Nigeria. We, therefore, must focus even more vigorously on our strategy of increasing testing, isolating confirmed cases, following up with contacts of cases and managing confirmed cases to recovery.
“The significant increase in the number of cases and distribution across states underscore the importance of remaining focused as citizens and as a nation because of the enormity of the challenges ahead.
“This is the time for all hands to be on deck so that the PTF can improve on its delivery. We must all come together because we face a common enemy and potential risk. We must flatten the curve at all cost and restore our country to full activity,” he said.
The SGF noted that recent developments around the world highlighted the dangers of the pandemic.
Editing by ‘Biodun Soyele
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