December 9, 2023

As Nigeria’s confirmed COVID-19 cases surpassed 12,000 and the death toll hit 342 on Sunday, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has said the country may just be starting to experience the epidemic.

The PTF lamented that Nigerians were avoiding being tested; a situation he said was responsible for the low testing ratio to the population.

This was made known at the House of Representatives on Monday when members of the PTF appeared before a joint committee of the House to account for the funds allocated and donated to the fight against the pandemic.

Chairman of the PTF, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, expressed uncertainties over the pandemic, urging the lawmakers to help extend the campaign to the grass roots.

He said, “I must say that the virus is still very dangerous. We have not peaked; we have to meticulously plan. There is no timeline; that is why money is not being thrown at it just because it has been released.

“We don’t know how long this will take us. Even the budget that the National Coordinator mentioned is for a period of six months. We do not know how long it will take us. But by the grace of God, we shall overcome.

“There is no medicine or vaccine for this. The humanity is simply overwhelmed by it. Everything has been turned upside down. Today, we are all masked up. We never used to know it like this. Please, honourable members, there is a lot you can do for us; a lot of legislative actions that can be taken, looking into the future. We are dealing with it today; the next pandemic must not catch us unawares. We must prepare for it.”

Earlier, the Also, the Director General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, while responding to a question on whether the PTF had projected a figure for cases to know when Nigeria has reached the peak of the pandemic, stated that the country was just entering it.

Ihekweazu also dismissed the claims that the NCDC had spent millions on text messages to sensitise Nigerians.

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