The National Economic Council, NEC, has expressed alarm at the spike in COVID-19 cases in Nigeria and decided to act on the strict enforcement of measures to contain the spread of the disease across the country.
In a resolution released after the monthly virtual meeting, which was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and attended by State Governors, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and other federal ministers, the Council noted that it “is alarmed that the current trends are now approaching or surpassing the levels reached during the lockdown imposed at the height of the epidemic earlier in the year.”
In the resolution, shared by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, the council disclosed that the trends also show that younger people are getting infected.
“While many of the young victims may be asymptomatic or recover without serious illness, they pass the virus to older and more vulnerable people, especially people with pre-existing health conditions, who develop serious illnesses and may easily lose their lives in the process.
“Sadly, the country is now experiencing a huge resurgence of COVID-19 patients needing intensive care and the existing health facilities are fast becoming overwhelmed,” NEC noted.
NEC also observed that this increase is being accelerated by non-compliance with the non-pharmaceutical interventions advised by government, including the wearing of masks, limiting of gatherings, especially indoors and the washing/sanitization of hands.
NEC, therefore, wishes to reemphasize the importance of these measures. Particularly as we approach the end of the year and the social gatherings associated with the holiday season, we must avoid activities or behavior that may aggravate the situation and necessitate another lockdown.
While enlarging the membership of its Ad-Hoc Committee on COVID-19 and mandating it to urgently come up with additional measures to deal with the spike in cases, NEC noted that “the country is now experiencing a huge resurgence of COVID-19 patients needing intensive care and the existing health facilities are fast becoming overwhelmed.”
The Committee chaired by the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa with the Governors of Lagos, Bauchi, Plateau, Kano, Anambra and the FCT Minister, has now been enlarged with the addition of the Governors of Ogun and Kaduna. The Minister of Health is also a member of the Committee, while the Federal Ministers of Information and Youth and Sports have also been asked to join. Also, Health and Information Commissioners in the States would also now be co-opted into the assignment.
The Vice President asked the Committee to urgently develop innovative and new measures to curtail the spread of the disease, acting in the best interests of both the health and overall welfare of Nigerians.