FG Warns against Rise in COVID-19 Cases after Reopening of Schools

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Olorunmibe Mamora
  • Buhari approves N8.9bn hazard allowance for health workers

Olawale Ajimotokan and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The federal government Thurssday cautioned against the risk of infecting more children and youths with COVID-19 with the reopening of schools.

This is coming as President Muhammadu Buhari has approved additional N8.9billion as COVID-19 hazard allowance to all medical health workers.

The Minister of State for Health, Senator Olorunmibe Mamora who spoke thursday during briefing by the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 in Abuja, decried the growing apathy by some states in ensuring continued and improved testing for the dreaded virus

“This is because as of today not many states are testing. We shall therefore ensure that testing continues in all the states until we reach our daily targets. Ten per cent of positive cases are children and adolescents with more than half of them in the age bracket of 10-18 years.

“It is therefore pertinent at this point to renew the warning of the PTF on the reopening of schools so as not to expose our children to the risk of infection,” he said.

Mamora said the Federal Ministry of Health held a meeting with chief medical officers of federal tertiary health institutions last week in Abuja where it encouraged them to work in synergy with the state governments to ensure coordinated response to disease control. The minster also said that a similar meeting with state commissioners of health was held on Tuesday.

He said that the ministry is following up on its engagement with states by deploying community volunteers to help intensify contract tracing and engage in active case finding, working with partners.

Speaking on the current engagement by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the representative of the Director General, Mrs. Elsie Ilori said that the centre is addressing the challenges posed by the reopening of the country’s airports and educational institutions with the unabating COVID-19 pandemic.

She said: “We are working side-by-side with the federal and state ministries of education to scale up medical intervention in schools. We are presently meeting with stakeholders where school management and other stakeholders will exchange ideas on the how best to deal with the situation, “she said.Meanwhile, Buhari has approved additional N8.9billion as COVID-19 hazard allowance to all medical health workers.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha disclosed this yesterday during the PTF press briefing.

wHe also said that in addition, the President will also give the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for hospitals and isolation centres priority.

According to him, in the past one week the government had held series of discussions with the National Association of Resident Doctors to stem the strike action by doctors and threats by other unions in the health sector.

‘’While appreciable progress has been made in the negotiations to resolve the issues, I must underscore the fact that we are in a global public health emergency situation that has impacted negatively on all aspects of our lives, including the economy and finances of government. This has made it imperative for all citizens irrespective of their professions and particularly health workers to re-awaken their sense of humanity and patriotism. The health and survival of our dear nation is important and we should eschew any action that will diminish the gains made in the containment of the pandemic so far,’’ he said.

He also added that as part of the efforts to promote community engagement, the PTF has met with the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on Polio and Primary Health Care, to discuss on how to mitigate the community spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The SGF said the Royal fathers had pledged their commitment and continued support as custodians of the rich history and cultures of the peoples, while effort is also on to replicate this dialogue around the country.