The Federal Government will not hesitate to impose stringent measures to protect Nigerians against the spread of Coronavirus infections, the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 warned yesterday.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the PSC Boss Mustapha, who dropped the hint at his committee’s national briefing in Abuja, said the third wave of the pandemic was sweeping through some states.
He described the spread of infections in five states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as worrisome, adding that more than 50 per cent of recent infections have been traced to Lagos.
“It is no more news that the Delta variant has made its way into Nigeria. The PSC is particularly concerned about the situation in Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Oyo, Rivers, FCT and Plateau states as this variant has made way into these states and accounts for the rising cases in these states and across the nation. Lagos alone accounts for over 50 per cent of the number of cases.”
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu corroborated the SGF’s claim, saying that 30 deaths have been recorded in the Centre of Excellence since the virus third wave hit Nigeria.
Briefing reporters on the COVID-19 situation at the State House in Alausa, Ikeja, Sanwo-Olu said the state has been recording six deaths daily in the last week.
Also yesterday, the Ogun State government said it recorded 12 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday.
Its Health Commissioner, Dr. Tomi Coker, said nine of the cases were found in Abeokuta, the state capital, two in South Local Government Area and one in Abeokuta North. She called on residents to adhere strictly to COVID-19 protocols.
Mustapha reminded Nigerians that their behaviour will determine how long wearing of facemasks will be observed in the country.
According to him, other variants of the virus than the recently ravaging Delta variant exist.
Asked if the PSC is considering some measures to arrest the rising cases of Delta variant in country, he said the Federal Government will not shy away from taking far-reaching measures to protect Nigerians.
He said: “Nothing is off the table. Let me say very categorically, nothing is off the table when it comes to protecting the lives of the people of this country.
“We will not hesitate in taking measures that will be considered quite stringent. All the countries of the world are applying different measures, countries that were adjudged to have successfully dealt with COVID-19 suddenly realised that they had to impose certain measures to ensure that they continue to balance lives and livelihood. And like I said, nothing is off the table. We’ll continue to study the situation.
“We’ve always been guided by science and facts and the experiences of other jurisdictions before we take informed decisions, we will continue to do that because it is very important. COVID-19 virus is novel and we will continue to understand the way it operates.
“The mutation and all manners of things, everybody is on a learning curve, nobody has the full story and until we get to such a situation where we are comfortable about the variant in-country. It is not only the Delta variant that is in the country, there are other variant, Dr. Chikwe didn’t address that, but probably at an appropriate moment we will talk about it.
“So we’re dealing with different variants and we will not hesitate to impose any kind of processes or protocols that will help protect the people of this country.
“So far, so good, we’ve tried as much as possible. In spite of the weaknesses in our health infrastructure, with the support of friends of Nigeria, donor partners and the resilience of our people to get to where we are, I believe we’ll continue to do that. And like I said, nothing is off the table.
“When it comes to containing the virus we will do everything to ensure that we contain the virus for the betterment of our people.”