Consultants doctors and corps members are to fill the void left behind by the resident doctors who are on strike.

Minister of Health Osagie Ehanire made this known to newsmen in Abuja.

The minister said it was a wrong time for doctors to embark on strike as the country was in a “vulnerable period”.

We are appealing to them not to use this very vulnerable period when the country is facing a war…you know the havoc that the Delta variant did in India, and what it has done and it is doing in Indonesia, Ireland, and other countries.

We have only one or two percent of eligible Nigerians vaccinated; So we are really facing something like a war. When you face a war, that is not the time that soldiers say they are not going to fight, the minister said.

We don’t want to see here, what happened in India where they also lost 400,000 lives due to COVID-19 Delta strain, we don’t want that”.

Ehanire said the no work no pay’ directive issued in the wake of the strike, was an international practice and not to threaten the doctor.

Your salary comes from taxpayers money, so if you didn’t work why should you go and be saying you should be paid because if that is so, you can be encouraged to stay home for up to six months and your salary is running from public funds, from taxpayers money and you have not given the community any service”.

The minister appealed to the doctors to call off the strike, noting that government was working to meet their demands.

Resident doctors embarked on a nationwide strike on August 2, citing irregular payment of salaries and hazard allowances.

COVID-19 lockdown?

Ehanire said government was not considering another lockdown as the country records a surge in COVID-19 cases.

He said Nigeria has not reached a threat level that will warrant imposing a lockdown, adding that lockdown poses a great threat to business activities.

Nigeria is currently battling the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic following the emergence of the Delta variant.

On Wednesday, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed 790 COVID-19 cases across 12 states and the federal capital territory (FCT), the highest single-day count in over six months.

RN