I welcome you all to the National Briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 for Thursday, 13th August, 2020.
2. The country has effectively entered the second week of the extended eased lock down phase and the PTF continues to monitor global and National trends in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
3. Globally, the world continues to pursue the search for a vaccine with over 1000 trials on-going and different claims of levels of success. We note particularly, the announcement by the President of Russia on the breakthrough in the development of a vaccine even as we study the developments. Fighting the pandemic successfully will take a global effort and Nigeria will not be left out whenever and where ever progress is made. However, the health and safety of Nigerians will always remain our priority in the pursuit of a solution.
4. For us in Nigeria, we shall remain focused on propagating the use of proven avoidance methods to break the transmission of the virus and effective case management to care for and treat infected persons.
5. The ravaging effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy should provide more compelling reasons for us all to leave no stone un-turned in fighting this pandemic. This week, the United Kingdom would be going into a recession after its economy suffered a slump in growth by a record 20% in the second quarter. I wish to remind all Nigerians that ahead of such occurrence, our Government had put in place an Economic Sustainability Plan backed by a stimulus package in the sum of N2.6 trillion to boost local economies, production and for all sizes of businesses including small family businesses. I therefore urge our businesses to take advantage of the stimulus package to revive and/or boost their businesses. We cannot afford to let our economy slide.
6. The PTF wishes to note as we have done before that fewer numbers of confirmed cases have been recorded in the last two weeks. This should never be misconstrued as victory over the virus. There is still a serious battle to be fought ahead of us as a people and as a country. It is, important, therefore, that we continue to build on our successes and not do anything to detract from them.
7. Our Risk Communication and Community Engagement messaging and consultations have been intensified, to drive the level of awareness and compliance to the wider population using media and platforms that are most effective generally and specifically. We wish to appeal to all Nigerians to exercise caution and restraint at all times. I wish to note however that from the reports for yesterday 12th August, 2020 no fatality was recorded.
8. The PTF is pleased to associate with the celebration of the International Youth Day 2020 under the theme “Youth Engagement for Global Action” which seeks to recognize the immense contributions and role of young people in achieving sustainable peace and development across all levels. Implicit in this is the need to galvanise engagement of youths to significantly enhance peacebuilding to promote social cohesion in this era of social distancing and collective fight in containing the COVID-19 pandemic.
9. The PTF appreciates all our young people who have stepped out and are contributing to the fight against the pandemic and implore others yet to do so, to join this fight with all the necessary passion their youthful energy can bring to bear. I am sure that our risk communication and community engagement strategy would gain a lot of mileage if the various youth organisations and the youths themselves heed this call.
10. It might interest you to note that of the 14,906 evacuees received during this COVID-19 pandemic, close to 80% are youths for which we are glad that only 684 tested positive to the coronavirus out of the 13,844 so far tested. In the coming days, we hope to receive more evacuees from different parts of the world. The National Coordinator will elaborate on this.
11. In the course of the week, the United States of America made good the promise made by President Donald Trump to donate medical equipment, including 200 ventilators to Nigeria as a support in the fight against the COVID-19. Nigeria recognizes the fact that the pandemic is a global challenge and particularly, it has impacted the United States of America in several ways, yet the bond of friendship has prevailed. This sacrifice and support to Nigeria is very much appreciated. I want to assure the Government and people of the United States that these ventilators, like other materials received from our various partners, would be judiciously deployed and transparently managed.
12. I now call on the Honourable Minister of Health, DG, NCDC and the National Coordinator to provide us with technical updates.
13. I thank you so much for your attention and have a good evening.