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The Presidential Task Force on the control of the pandemic has announced a two-week extension of the ban of all flights in Nigeria which is due to expire on Thursday.

Chairman of the task force and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, said at its briefing in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said: “Tomorrow (Thursday) marks the last day for the enforcement of the closure of Nigeria’s airspace to flights. We have assessed the situation in the aviation industry and have come to the conclusion that given the facts available to us and based on the advice of experts, the ban on all flights will be extended for an additional four weeks.”

The Task Force has also alerted that the outcomes of the modeling it has adopted suggest that dangers lie ahead for the country.

He said: “The overall assessment of compliance with the measures and outcomes of modelling we have developed point in the direction of danger ahead.

“We therefore need personal discipline, increased awareness and enforcement. The PTF calls on community, religious and traditional leaders to take up this challenge.

“Similarly, we call on, trade associations, professional bodies and organisations to complement the efforts of government. The PTF appreciates your current efforts but it has become very obvious that more needs to be done, together.”

Mustapha said while the task force continues to advocate strict compliance with the prescribed measures, it also wants the use of the period of pandemic to build social solidarity by eschewing stigmatization , support the mental well being of citizens that are infected, provide for the poor, sick, aged and vulnerable.
He lamented that early assessment of the ease of lock down phase indicated that Nigerians are yet to come to terms with the deadliness and the virulent nature of the COVID-19 “and this gives us concerns on the high possibility of increased seeding of the virus to hitherto un-affected persons and populations.”

While appealing to state governors to align their plan for the movement of Almajiris with the ban imposed by President Muhammadu Buhari, he stressed the need for individual and collective safety and appealed to Nigerians “to demonstrate our duty to ourselves and loved ones by minimizing the risk of getting infected by the virus.

The chairman stated that the PTF recognizes the challenges encountered at the banks with the ease of lock down and assured that the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as the Bankers’ Committee have put in place strategies that would reduce such re-occurrence.

The PTF boss informed that the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) will be visiting the Kogi and Cross Rivers states to provide support to the State Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs), while it is also retooling all federal medical institutions as part of the overall support to the states.

He disclosed that the PTF has received a boost in the isolation facilities available in Abuja with the completion of the Abuja Thisday Dome, which he said would be inaugurated on Tuesday 12th May, 2020.

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