The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has raised the alarm over persons confirmed to have coronavirus crossing state boundaries despite restriction of movement in several states.
The national coordinator in the fight against COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, who spoke during a media briefing by the PTF in Abuja, on Thursday, also stated that persons were being smuggled in trucks out of Lagos.
He said, “We have noticed that community spread is now being traced from people travelling across state borders. We need to restrict our movement in order to stop the spread of coronavirus infection.
“This is particularly pertinent with regard to the news of people being smuggled in trucks out of Lagos.”
On the donation of palliatives, Aliyu urged donors to work with the task force for synergy.
He said, “I would like to highlight the need for donors to safeguard life and basic health protocols during the distribution of palliatives within local communities.
“It is important that they maintain health and safety. The rise of aggressive behaviour and non-conformity to physical distancing is unacceptable and a major risk to our communities.”
According to the national coordinator, the collaboration with the PTF will ensure that donations are relevant to the needs of the health workers and the vulnerable.
“We need to make sure we do not purchase substandard goods or put quality assurance standards aside in the process of trying to increase our resources for the response.
“This is particularly valid for state governments as they go on to purchase PPEs for the health care workers and frontline staff.”
He appealed to COVID-19 survivors to tell their stories at their own discretion for the purpose of removing the stigma and discrimination associated with the illness.
The national coordinator, however, added that it was important to continue to respect privacy.
The Chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, in his remarks, urged local garment makers to produce face masks.
Mustapha stated that it had become imperative for the public to wear masks whenever outdoors on essential activities, adding that it would reduce the chances of infection.
“Let me encourage all our garment factories and tailors all over the nation that this is the time to start producing masks locally, using our local fabrics, like the Ankara, Sheda and all other materials because of our advisory that, as much as possible, we should wear our mask whenever we are outside our homes.
“Let me also advise that, in case you are outside the confines of your homes, make sure it is for very legitimate reasons covered by the exemption or within the hours relaxed for the purchase of basic items.
“Similarly, you should carry with you a valid means of identification,” he said.
The SGF also urged everyone to exercise patience in communicating with the law enforcement agents assigned to ensure compliance with the presidential orders, saying their presence was for the protection of all.
He said, I think it’s becoming very obvious now that we need to be stricter and this appeal is going to the sub-national entities that this is not the time to relax the lockdown in those states.
“This is the time to ensure that stricter compliance of the lockdown is observed. This is not the time to relax any longer. A state has gone from one index case, in under one week, to 21 (cases). So, it is serious business. It’s not a joking matter.”