President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of at least one oxygen plant in each of the 36 states which will help provide life support for coronavirus patients.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, on Tuesday during the task force’s media briefing in Abuja.
Mustapha revealed that 100 cylinders of oxygen would be supplied daily by the Private Sector Coalition in the fight against COVID-19 (CACOVID) until the end of March 2021 to critical care centres in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
He said this was part of the efforts made to save the lives of Nigerians and strengthen the fight against coronavirus in the country.
“In the last two weeks, a lot has been discussed on case management and in particular, the availability of oxygen to save lives. We are pleased to inform you that the private sector – CACOVID has commenced supporting our response with 100 oxygen cylinders per day till the end of March, 2021, for distribution to critical care centres in Abuja.
“Furthermore, approval has been given to rehabilitate five oxygen plants across various tertiary health institutions in Abuja. The President has also approved that at least one oxygen plant should be established in each state of the federation immediately,” he said.
He noted that the alarming increase in the number of infections in the last few days was as a result of the activities of the festive period, adding that the nation had recorded the highest single daily number of infections since the national response commenced; a total of 1,204 cases on Monday, January 4, 2021.
He also expressed hope that the numbers would not surge beyond the control of the national response.
He stated that “Closely associated with that is the increasing daily numbers that we are recording. Yesterday 4th January, 2021, we recorded 1,204 infections. This was the highest daily number ever recorded since we commenced the national response.
“From our analysis, we are beginning to see the effect of activities carried out during the Christmas festivities. We can only hope that numbers will not escalate beyond control. We however, still appeal to all citizens to take full responsibility through compliance and vigilance”.
Mustapha expressed his concern over the low testing rates in most states of the federation despite the provision of financial and other resources as support to all the states.
“As we have always maintained, testing is a key strategy under the national response. To this end we can report that there are about 100 laboratories across the country. These are 71 public labs; 22 private labs and 7 corporate labs. Collectively, they are to help improve testing in the country.
“Regrettably, however, there is still very low testing in a number of states. For clarity, the DG NCDC will elaborate on the spheres of responsibility in testing and the Federal Government has sufficiently supported the States to enable them support surveillance and IPC”, he said.
He also said that the PTF would enhance efforts to create awareness about the virus while urging citizens to cooperate and support the National Response.
“To overcome some of these challenges, the PTF will intensify the risk communication and community engagement to create awareness. The sheer level of doubts about the virus is alarming and I call on every one to become advocates in support of the National Response,” he said.
He assured Nigerians that the federal government was working hard to prevent an importation of the virus, including its new difficult strains into the country. Part of the efforts he said was sanctioning violators of international flight protocols whose identities would be published weekly going forward.
“Finally, I wish to confirm that the PTF has commenced the sanctions on passengers who defaulted on day-7 post arrival tests. Their passport numbers have been published and travel restriction imposed for a period of six months effective 1st January, 2021.
“Let me categorically state that the PTF has generated over 20,000 inbound passengers that have also defaulted. The publication will continue weekly till it is exhausted.
“Nigerians should be aware that every defaulter is a threat to public health which is unacceptable to us and represent a drawback to the National Response. We have a duty to advise our relations, friends, associates to comply with laid down rules. The DG (NCDC) and the National Coordinator will update you on this,” he said.