Ahead of next week’s Sallah festivities, the National Economic Council is calling for strict adherence to the COVID-19 response guidelines across the country, after receiving a regular state performance report from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
According to the report, the Coronavirus positivity rate has gone up in the country just as 3 cases of the Delta variant have now been detected.
This was made at the Council’s 118th meeting, which held virtually and was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, with State governors, federal ministers, the Central Bank Governor, and other senior government officials in attendance.
The Council received the state performance report on COVID-19 from the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, who noted that the Delta variant was a new variant identified in 103 countries and is 60% more transmissible than the highly infectious Alpha variant which was previously identified.
The DG said despite the low number of cases in the country, the positivity rate has gone up and Lagos State has a larger burden of 70%-80% cases in the country, having recorded an increase in the number of cases in the last 10 weeks.
The NCDC, therefore, urged the Council to ensure the sustenance of effective COVID-19 response nationwide, while improving public health awareness, adherence to public health, and social measures. The agency also called for the re-activation and sustained functioning of isolation centres as proactive preparatory measures towards tackling a possible third wave.
The Council was also briefed by the NEC Ad-hoc Committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to ease the lockdown of the economy. According to Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta State Governor and Chairman of the Committee, with the emergence of the Delta variant in Lagos State, there has been an increase in monitoring activities at entry points across the country.
The Committee noted that State Governors would continue to monitor the situation for the next one week to see if there would be need for an emergency Ad-hoc committee meeting on the situation.
Also, the Council received a presentation on Flood Disaster Risk Management in Nigeria for 2021 by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, and the Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
It urged State Governments to take proactive and necessary mitigative measures in addressing the envisaged 2021 flood disaster in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic while encouraging relevant Federal Ministries, Department, and Agencies (MDAs) to take necessary actions.