The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 ahead of the resumption of graduating students has asked students with symptoms of COVID-19 to stay at home.
The COVID-19 PTF in a statement on Monday by its National Coordinator, Dr. Sani Aliyu, faulted state governments asking students to produce results of their COVID-19 tests before resumption, saying that COVID-19 tests results is only valid for the period the test was conducted.
State governments are already reopening schools to enable graduating secondary school students prepare and sit for their West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), which is starting this month.
Schools in Ogun and Benue state had already resumed, while other states like Kano and Ekiti fixed August 10 as resumption date.
Faulting the compulsory COVID-19 test for student before resumption, the PTF said; “It is only valid for that period of time; for that point in time when you had the swab taken. The next day, you could have a positive result, especially if you are in an incubation period.
“It is far more important to monitor for symptoms and check for temperature, and make sure that students that have symptoms of cough or any other respiratory symptoms are told to stay back at home and seek medical attention.
“This is far more useful than doing COVID-19 test before they resume. It is safer as well to monitor the students rather than test them at a particular point in time.”
Speaking further he noted that the COVID-19 PTF would announce the next protocol for the third phase.
“I will like to also remind us all of the safety guidelines for the eased lockdown phase two, which we are currently in and this will continue to be in place until Thursday, August 6, when we will announce a new protocol for the third phase.”
Dr. Aliyu also spoke about the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic being witnessed by some countries.
“The PTF will like to appeal to state governments and religious bodies to proactively prevent transmission of the virus by continuing to advocate and practise the approved preventive measures and guidelines. Specifically, we urge businesses that are reopening to align themselves to our efforts by establishing and practising COVID-sensitive business precautionary measures.”
Also speaking during the briefing on Monday, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, who is the Chairman of the COVID-19 PTF, said that the new protocols would be released during the next briefing of the PTF on Thursday.
“As mentioned during our last press briefing of Monday July 27, 2020, the PTF will submit its sixth interim report to Mr President and subject to his approval, we hope to present the way forward to Nigerians at the next briefing on Thursday, August 6, 2020,” the SGF said.
SGF Mustapha also revealed that the PTF was concluding discussions with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on appropriate guidelines to adopted for elections beginning with the August 8 bye-election in Nasarawa State and the Governorship Elections in Edo and Ondo States in September and October respectively.
He also announced the donation of N67million worth of PPE and medical supplies to Sao Tome and Principe by President Muhammadu Buhari. He noted that the donation was done by Nigeria in her capacity as the ECOWAS Champion on the Containment of COVID-19 in West Africa.
Speaking at the press briefing, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, urged Nigerians not to forget all measures put in place to protect themselves and curb the spread of the virus.
“We will work with state governments to prepare necessary space and human resources at the General Hospitals or PHCs, to be trained for setting up at least one sample collection site at every LGA in due course, with efficient sample retrieval logistics to convey samples to laboratories.
“For patients with significant clinical symptoms, we also plan the designation of holding rooms at General Hospitals, with facilities for oxygen administration, such as oxygen concentrators or from oxygen cylinders.
The Health Minister also noted that preparations had been made to check the expected spike in COVID-19 cases as educational activities as well as businesse pick up.
Ibrahim Kenneth Suleiman is the Chief Political Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He is a graduate of political science from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State. He specializes in preparing/approving of political news contents before publication. He currently heads Naija Buzz News team of political correspondents. From Nasarawa State, North-Central Nigeria, Ibrahim is a strong supporter of Manchester United Football Club England.