Boss Mustapha

Gentlemen of the Press,

​I welcome you all to the briefing for Thursday, 23rd April, 2020.

2.​The PTF wishes to continue to express appreciation to all Nigerians and in particular our frontline health workers including members of the media for the tremendous work that is being done. We shall continue to count on this support and collaboration to confront the Coronavirus pandemic because it is only when we are together that we can defeat the virus completely. It is only a matter of time before this nightmare passes.
3.​The PTF also continues to monitor and modify the strategy as developments unfold. Our assessment of the impact of the Lockdown is still ongoing and I wish to confirm to you that the DG NCDC and WHO Representative have returned from their tour of nine (9) states and their report is being evaluated preparatory to our recommendations to Mr. President.
4. ​The PTF notes that the number of cases reported have risen to 873 across 25 states and the FCT with 197 discharges and 28 fatalities. I have mentioned these numbers in order to underscore the need for citizens to comply with advisories strictly so that we can slowdown the spread of the virus. These advisories still remain the most effective way of flattening the curve.
5.​The situation in Kano is still being assessed and monitored closely. Based on preliminary findings, the PTF has directed the NCDC to send an enhanced support team, mobilize resources for contact tracing and immediately ensure that necessary steps are taken in conjunction with State Government to contain the spread of the pandemic in Kano and stop the city from becoming the next epicentre.
6.​The PTF views with some measure of concern the non-compliance by private medical facilities with the directive to seek accreditation before treating COVID-19 related cases. The highly infectious nature of COVID-19 if not well managed in purpose-built facilities and specialists, pose a lot of danger not just to the medical staff in such hospitals but also to other patients and loved ones at home. We therefore appeal strongly to operators of private medical facilities wishing to continue to treat COVID-19 cases to apply to the Federal Ministry of Health urgently, for accreditation.
7.​The issue of stigmatization still persists and it is counter-productive to our efforts. This disease does not discriminate on status, creed, tribe or color and anybody can be infected. It is my humble appeal that once you are infected by this disease, you should immediately report to appropriate medical facilities in your own interest and the interest of your loved ones. COVID-19 is not a condition and there is no need to stigmatize anybody. I must remind all of us that over 90% of infected persons recover from this disease. In this regard, I urge all those who have recovered from this disease to tell their stories.
8 ​The PTF has continued to collaborate with the Governors in the various states and the outcome of the conversation with the NGF will form a critical part of the recommendations to be made to Mr. President in the coming days.
9.​Nigeria has continued to receive international support in the wake of this pandemic. We thank our development partners, public spirited individuals and corporate organizations for all the support that we have received in cash and kind. Earlier this morning, the Ambassador of the Peoples Republic of China in
Nigeria led the China-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce to present a symbolic cheque in the sum of N48,120,000 to the COVID Support Fund. This gesture underscores the deep relationship between Nigeria and China and it is well appreciated. The Ambassador has also informed the PTF that the 3rd phase of the Medical Supplies from the Government of China is ready for airlift. Arrangements will be made towards actualizing this.
10.​Let me emphasize that all donations go into various designated collection accounts opened by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and swept into a Treasury Single Account (TSA) with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on a daily basis. The PTF does not manage any COVID-19 related donation or funds.
11.​Yesterday in my address, I thanked the President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto for endorsing the recommendations of the Emergency Fatwah Committee by directing the Ummah on the suspension of obligatory religious activities during the Ramadan. I wish to reiterate the importance of complying with these directives as a major thrust for the control of the spread of this pandemic. I implore all State Governors once again, to apply these directives in their States as they consider measures to be taken. May the Ramadan season be of immense blessings to our nation and the world.
12.​Finally, what I bring to Nigerians today is the message of hope and the message of strength. I encourage you to comply with all the advisories and to continue to be your brothers’ keeper especially given the unintended impact of the lockdown on the poor, the needy, the aged, the vulnerable, persons living with disabilities and the sick. This is the time to show the essence of the fear of God and love for humanity in us.

13.​I now invite the Hon. Minister of Health to present his update.

14.​Thank you for listening.