The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC) has placed six states and the federal capital territory (FCT) on red alert in a move intended to halt the spread of the Delta Variant of the virus and a third wave of the pandemic in Nigeria.
The committee, in a statement signed by Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation and chairman of the committee on Saturday July 17, listed the states as Lagos, Oyo, Rivers, Kaduna, Kano, Plateau and the FCT.
Although the PSC urged all States of the Federation to heighten their state of preparedness and continue the enforcement of all protocols put in place, given the renowned greater ease of spread of the Delta variant, Professor Oyewale Tomori, a former WHO regional virologist says the move is defective.
In a message to Africasti, Prof Tomori said the “proclamation and red alert is the typical short sightedness and failure to be proactive.”
The committee had released the statement to urge people to maintain caution during the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations.
But Prof. Tomori said, “COVID-19 goes where we take it…Frrom Ikotun Egbe in Lagos to Oba Ndemili South or North. The entire country should be on alert. After the Sallah holidays and the recent burials that violated all Non-pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs), celebrants who may have asymptomatically harboured the virus before and after will travel and return to different destinations.”
According to him, PSC is basing its decision on what he descries as ‘the faulty towers of poor uncoordinated testings in the country”.
“I say declare Nigeria at the reddest alert, and not some states!,” Prof Tomori stated.
The PSC had stated that the steps taken are critical, adding that the country, through the committee shall continue to minimize the risk of importation of Variants of Concern into the country by strengthening Surveillance at all Points of Entry (POE), enforcing extant quarantine protocols and sustaining the current restrictive measures against travelers arriving from India, Brazil, Turkey and South Africa.
In the statement, the PSC has recommended the decentralization of Eid Prayer to neighborhood Friday Prayer Mosques (outdoor); suspension of Durbar activities; and observation of limitations on all Indoor gatherings.