COVID-19 response: PSC replaces PTF April 1 for next 8 months –SGF

 Following the expiration of the terms of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, President Muhammadu Buhari has dissolved the PTF and set up the Presidential Steering Committee, (PSC).

Mr Boss Mustapha, PTF chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), stated this while speaking at the national briefing of the PTF, on Monday, in Abuja.

“You will recall that when His Excellency, Mr. President received the end-of-year report of the PTF on December 22, 2020, he authorized the extension of the mandate of the body for three months.

” Following the expiration of the extension on March 31, 2021 and a detailed review, the PTF submitted its report to Mr. President for appropriate decisions”, he said.

The  PTF chair added: “The extension by Mr. President has enabled the PTF to vigorously pursue the twin objectives of epidemic control, through reduced transmission, and minimizing mortality among vulnerable and infected citizens.

“You will recall that the timeline between November 2020 through February 2021 coincided with a virulent second wave, during which the country experienced the most challenging phase of our national response. The daily number of cases, fatalities, and level of non-compliance with public health measures were all very high.”

With the expiration of the term of the PTF, according to Mustapha, “The president has approved that the PTF will transition to a Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, effective from April 1, 2021, with a modified mandate to reflect the non-emergent status of COVID-19 as a potentially long-term pandemic.

“That the structure of the PSC shall reflect the new focus of the response with a targeted approach on vaccine oversight, risk communication, international travel quarantine processes and sub-national engagement; and that the tenure of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) shall last till  December 31, 2021.”

In the meantime, the PSC would be charged with; ”maintaining the present constitution, functions and strategies of the PTF; be supported by a slim technical and administrative structure; coordinate the Vaccine Roll out, deployment and administration.

This would be in addition to ”improving on the multi-sectoral systems; meet less frequently, while maintaining effective communication with Nigerians and monitor and audit on going systems, reforms and infrastructure development in the health sector,” Mustapha also said. (NAN)