PRESIDENTIAL Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has urged Nigerians to be weary of festivities such as Christmas carols as year-ending festivities lurk around the corner.
The warning also includes non-essential travels with a call on Nigerians abroad to remain wherever they are or stand the risk of being stranded in the country in the event that the government takes a decision on international travels.
Chairman of PTF, Boss Mustapha and National Coordinator, Sani Aliyu as well as Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire and Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Chikwe Ihekweazu jointly gave the warning at the weekly briefing of the task force in Abuja yesterday.
According to Mustapaha, PTF was escalating its surveillance and testing drive to ensure that the spread of the virus was effectively contained as the nation approaches the festive season.
“We shall continue to remind Nigerians that all non-essential trips should be put off this December. This is for your safety and good health.
The PTF is already working on the strategy for gaining access to the vaccine as soon as they are available. Don’t come home for Christmas. Nigerians outside the country, hopefully they will stay where they are. And for Nigerians in-country, we will also stay where we are.
Aliyu advised Nigerians in the Diaspora not to consider coming home, urging them to celebrate Christmas and New Year wherever they are.
“The national coordinator disclosed that for every 1,000 passengers coming into the country, the nation records 10 positive cases of COVID-19.
“Please, for this period, if your travel is not essential, stay where you are. We are actively discouraging Nigerians abroad from coming home this Christmas because of COVID-19 and the number of infections we have outside the country. So, the message is; if you do not want to get stranded, if you do not want to bring COVID-19 to your elderly relatives in Nigeria, please stay where you are. There will be other holidays,” he said.
Ihekweazu said Christmas carols, travels and other gatherings during festivities were capable of turning out to be “super spreaders” of the virus, hence the need for Nigerians to avoid them as much as possible.
“This is really to re-emphasise the call by the PTF that many of the traditional meetings that we engage in at this time of the year, whether they are Christmas carols or festivals, trips, family gatherings, each of those could end up being a super spreader event. So, we must take this into consideration as we make our choices,” Ihekweazu said.