AS a result of the need to deepen Nigeria’s response to the threats posed by coronavirus (COVID-19) infection currently ravaging countries globally, the Federal Government has inaugurated a Presidential Task Force on the control of the disease.
The government also barred top officials from embarking on foreign travels.
The Taskforce, chaired by the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, is expected to advise President Muhammadu Buhari on the imposition of travel ban on high risk countries as well as declaration of national emergency as part of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Other members of the Presidential Taskforce are the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika; Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Services, Sadiya Farouk; Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu; Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Minister of State Health, Adeleke Mamora; Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abubakar; Director-General of Department of State Services, Director-General, Yusuf Bichi; Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Çhikwe Ihekweazu, and the WHO Country Representative.
Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the Taskforce in Abuja yesterday, the SGF said: “As we are all aware, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus necessitated the monitoring of developments around the world as well as management of the index case in Nigeria.
“Consequent upon these, Mr. President approved the constitution of this Presidential Task Force for the control of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
“The composition of the task force will enable Nigeria deepen her multi-sectoral and inter-governmental approach to our national response.
“Actions taken by governments in different parts of the world point to the fact that COVID-19 constitutes a major threat to humanity and requires that our response must be firm, scientific, methodical and strategic.
“The government’s swiftness in dealing with Nigeria’s index case is globally acknowledged and appreciated.”
Mustapha said the timeline for the activities of the task force is six months, with the following terms of reference: “Strengthening the national response strategy, particularly in the areas of testing, containment and management of COVID-19; strengthening collaboration with all tiers of government, private sector, faith-based organizations, civil societies, donors and partners; building awareness among the populace; directing the deployment of any relevant national assets when necessary; and laying a foundation for scientific and medical research to address all emerging infectious diseases.