Boss Mustapha, chairman of the presidential task force, PTF on COVID-19, says the committee will not hesitate to advise President Muhammadu Buhari to lock down the country again if the need arises.
Speaking at the presidential task force, PTF briefing on COVID-19 on Monday, Mustapha asked Nigerians to learn from the experience of the 1918 Spanish flu.
He said the federal government decided to relax the initial lockdown to ease the hardship in the land.
“What happened in 1918 was very simple. During the Spanish flu, it lasted for 2 years and in three waves, and during that period of time, 500 million people were infected. Out of which they recorded fatalities of about 50 million persons. But the dangerous phase of the flu was the second phase,” he said.
“Because people were so angry about the quarantine and restrictions when the government of the different nationalities lifted up the restrictions, people jumped onto the street and began to enjoy themselves with reckless abandon
“And by the time the second wave came, tens of millions of the deaths were recorded.
“I have said it here that lockdowns might not be popular now but what will happen in the preceding weeks will determine. Madagascar has imposed a lockdown despite its herbal cure. About 39 states in the US, because of the Thanksgiving holiday and their national day celebration, they have begun to see spikes in the figure.
“I believe as the days and weeks ahead will present, we will not speculate what will happen in the future but we will do everything within our mandate to ensure the safety and protection of the people of Nigeria. If that will recommend a prescription of a lockdown, this task force will mot shy away from its responsibilities.
“We will take that decision, make our recommendations to Mr president who will finally decide. What will happen in the next two to three weeks will determine our recommendation.”
Noting that the disease is still virulent and even more potent now “from the studies that are coming”, Mustapha said Nigeria will probably reach its peak in September and that the country cannot afford to compromise the safety of its citizens.