The presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19 says it is enhancing surveillance at points of entry into Nigeria to respond to the recent Ebola outbreak in neighbouring countries.
On February 7, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had announced a new case of the Ebola virus, months after the outbreak was declared over in the country.
On Sunday, Guinea’s ministry of health also declared an Ebola outbreak, following the death of three persons.
During its briefing on Monday, Boss Mustapha, PTF chairman, said the country will keep a keen eye on the situation to avoid combating “two deadly diseases at the same time”.
“The PTF wishes to underscore the fact that respect for national protocols, setting up of appropriate infrastructure and the all-round protection of our travelling nationals shall remain paramount in our consideration and the eventual outcome,” he said.
“The oxygen strategy we are pursuing nationwide under case management is receiving the needed support from the global fund. This will involve the repairs of 36 plants nationwide.
“The process is ongoing and you will be briefed as it progresses. The objective is to make sure that oxygen is available within the shortest possible travelling distance for hospitals to procure for patients. As you are aware, the president has already approved the repairs of existing plants around the country.
“The PTF is also enhancing surveillance at points of entry to respond to recent outbreak of Ebola in neighbouring countries, especially Guinea and the Congo DCR.
“We shall keep a keen eye on it to avoid having to combat with the two deadly diseases at the same time. This is not a task for government alone, but for all Nigerians, and indeed all members of the public have a role to play.”
The PTF chairman also said the task force will continue to monitor developments over the next two weeks due to the Valentine’s Day celebration that took place on Sunday.
“In the last one year, we have experienced two waves of infections and recorded a lot of fatalities. Although we are not out of the woods yet, it is very important to remain committed to the adherence to the NPIs and be our brothers’ keepers,” he said.
“There have been sustained efforts by sub-national entities and the FCT administration to stem the tide against the second wave of the pandemic. This is evident in the closure of some facilities, including event centres, clubs, etc., over the violation of protocol.
“We are glad with the direction of the collaboration and enforcement, which we believe will deter other would-be violators.”
He noted that the process of accessing vaccines for Nigeria is still on course, with the goal to keep it “safe and efficacious” for Nigerians.