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Buhari extends tenure of COVID-19 task force till March

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President Muhammadu Buhari has extended the tenure of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 for additional three months. 

The PTF were scheduled to end this December but on Tuesday; the President announced that the team would continue working till March 2021. 

The President said the recent surge in COVID-19 cases has made it necessary for the team to continue its function because the nation cannot afford to lose the gain of the past nine months in the fight to flatten the curve of the pandemic. 

The President said, “I am extending the mandate of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 till the end of March 2021, bearing in mind the new surge in the number of cases, and the bid for vaccines.

“Nigeria cannot afford to lose the gains of the last nine months. I have critically evaluated the situation and remain convinced that urgent measures have to be taken to halt the spread of the Coronavirus and the attendant fatalities.

“There is also the need to speedily and strategically access and administer the COVID vaccine in a safe, effective and timely manner. This is an important obligation that we owe Nigerians as we go into year 2021, and it must be carried out through an efficient machinery.

“Now is the time for collective efforts to be intensified. I therefore urge all sub-national entities, traditional rulers, religious and leaders of thought to collaborate with the PTF by taking up the responsibility for risk communication and community engagement at all levels.

“As the festive season approaches, I urge all Nigerians to remain vigilant and stay safe. Non-essential trips and large social gatherings should be avoided or shelved completely.”

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 was established by President Muhammadu Buhari on March 9, 2020, to coordinate and oversee Nigeria’s multi-sectoral inter-governmental efforts to contain the spread and mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

Following what was meant to be a last meeting on Monday, December 21, 2020, The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 imposed new restrictions because Nigeria is now facing a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide, similar to the second wave of infections globally.

PTF chairman, Boss Mustapha, said during the task force’s media briefing in Abuja that the current pattern of spread is likely caused by a general lack of compliance for public health preventive measures.

The PTF Chairman said in a statement, “In line with the authorisation, the PTF wishes to issue the following advisories to sub-national entities for implementation over the next five weeks because these activities are considered super spreader events:

“Close All bars, nightclubs, pubs and event centres, and recreational venues;

“Close all restaurants except those providing services to hotel residents; takeaways, home deliveries and drive-ins shall remain closed.”

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