President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the sum of N8.9 billion as additional COVID-19 hazard allowance to all medical health workers.
The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the Coronavirus Pandemic and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, disclosed this during its briefing in Abuja, on Thursday.
He said the government has also decided to prioritise the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for hospitals and isolation centres.
Mustapha regretted the strike action embarked upon by doctors and threats by other unions in the health sectors, admonishing them to show more patriotism at this time of a global pandemic.
He said: “Over the past one week a lot of discussion in the public space has happened around the strike action by doctors and threats by other Unions in the health sector. While appreciable progress has been made in the negotiations to resolve the issues, I must underscore the fact that we are in a global public health emergency situation that has impacted negatively on all aspects of our lives including the economy and finances of the government.
“This has made it imperative for all citizens irrespective of their professions and particularly health workers to reawaken their sense of humanity and patriotism. The health and survival of our dear nation are important and we should eschew any action that will diminish the gains made in the containment of the pandemic so far.
“I am pleased to announce that Mr President has graciously approved additional N8.9bn for COVID-19 hazard allowance to all medical health workers. In addition, the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for hospitals and isolation centres will be given priority.”
He stressed that passengers are required to stay in self-isolation and undergo mandatory test within seven days of their arrival in the country.
The PTF boss said: “I am pleased to inform you that as part of the efforts to restart the economy, Nigeria reopened the international airspace on 5th September, with flights allowed into Lagos and Abuja for now. Other International Airports will follow in due course.
“The PTF has also released the guidelines and protocols regarding the international flights, the obligations of airlines, the pre-boarding conditions and post-boarding choices available to passengers regarding arrangements and facilities for testing. Travellers are to visit the Nigeria International Travel Portal- www.nitp.ncdc.gov.ng to register before embarking on any international travels in and out of Nigeria.
“For emphasis, I wish to reiterate that all travellers arriving in Nigeria must have tested negative for COVID-19 by PCR in the country of departure pre-boarding and the PCR test must be done within 72-96 hours before departure.
“It is also important to note that passengers are required to remain in self-isolation post-arrival and should undergo a mandatory COVID-19 test in a designated private laboratory by the seventh day after arrival.
“The PTF is aware of and working with our partners to speedily resolve the teething challenges faced by intending travellers in accessing the portal, the costs of the test on arrival, inability to complete the payment online and consequential inability to board.
“We, therefore, apologise to everyone that had experienced these challenges using the platform. We assure all Nigerians and visitors to Nigeria that the PTF is working across multi-layer stakeholder platforms to ease the bottlenecks.
“Let me also assure you that the Federal Government is partnering with the private sector to facilitate the process of testing a week after arrival in a seamless manner. This is driven largely by; Deployment of technology; freedom to pick a certified private laboratory of choice, and delivering the service at minimal cost to the government.”
The SGF informed that during the just concluded Ministerial Retreat to review the first-year performance of the government as it relates to the nine priority areas, the impact of COVID-19 and the national response was exhaustively discussed.
He said at the end of the retreat, President Muhammadu Buhari sent a message of hope and appreciation to Nigerians and particularly to the media for the tremendous effort made in public awareness creation in the management of the national response.
The task force boss said as part of the efforts to promote community engagement, the PTF met with the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on Polio and Primary Health Care, to discuss on how we can all control community spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to him, the Royal fathers pledged their commitment and continued support as custodians of the rich history and cultures of our peoples. We are working on replicating this dialogue around the country.
“Also, today, the PTF briefed the National Food Security Council on the impact of COVID-19 on agriculture and the food value chain. The impact no doubt has been heavy but the government has re-calibrated its strategy for mitigating the impact,” he stated.
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