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PTF plans legalisation for mandatory use of face masks

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The Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 on Monday said it was working closely with security institutions and state governments on making an act of parliament that would make the wearing of face masks mandatory in the public.

This is coming on the heels of non-noncompliance shown by a greater member of the public with the coronavirus pandemic prevention protocols, the taskforce said.

Citing an instance in some parts of the South East, Sani Aliyu, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force who announced the plans during the daily briefing on Monday, stated that “Survey checks revealed that 60 percent of people in some parts of southeast did not believe that the COVID pandemic is an issue at all. We clearly are not taking the issue of the pandemic seriously enough.”

The National Coordinator also expressed a deep concern that there is a partial to total non- compliance to face masks and physical distancing protocols by the public, despite the PT’s warning that the pandemic has entered an exponential spread in the country.

Aliyu stated that it was riskier to go out now than few months back on the rising community transmission, saying that is also important that Nigerians continue to adhere strictly to hygiene protocols approved by health authorities, to avoid contracting the virus.

“As I said last week, today now, you’re more likely to contract COVID if you don’t observe the recommended strict measures, far more than when the problems started three months ago.

“We must challenge those that are in public and are not wearing face masks. We will continue to enforce these measures particularly for organisations that don’t take safety measures seriously,”

He expressed further concern that many Nigerians only use their face masks either to avoid security agents or where they’re told to do so, adding: “There is also significant disbelief in the danger and the impact of the covid-19.”

The PTF, he said, also frowns at many mails that continue to exist within the social media platforms ranging from conspiracy theories to get rich quick claims and treatments of herbal convictions all of which appear to be putting our sensitisation at risks.

Speaking on ways to mitigate the spread, he said, “There are ways we could mitigate this which includes sensitisation and awareness creation, and collaboration efforts with other levels of governments.

“Collaboration within the PTF and state taskforces, and continuous awareness, as well as training and distribution of sensitisation materials in continuous efforts to flatten the curve,” he said.

On efforts of the states, he said: “First we want to recognise those states that continue to work closely with the PTF to ensure that our citizens are kept safe and supporting their state emergency operating centres, for their operational budgets and pushing for more tests.”

He also told state governors that there is no shame in having positive results in their states, adding: “It is much better for you to know the level of COVID infection in your state and denial would make it more difficult for your health workers, citizens and fragile health facilities could collapse.”

“In the long run, it is in the best interest of all of us to know the true extent of the pandemic and push for more tests and rather than trying to avoid testing citizens.


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