BY Friday Olokor
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has asked students with symptoms of COVID-19 to stay at home as resumption of the Senior Secondary School 3 begins this week nationwide.
The PTF faulted state governments asking students to produce results of their COVID-19 tests before resumption.
It said instead of compulsory test, which would only be valid for the period the test was conducted, students already showing symptoms of the virus should be asked to stay away.
The task force’s national coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu, said these at the PTF press briefing in Abuja.
In preparation for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination, the SSS3 students in Ogun and Benue would resume today, while their counterparts in Kano and Ekiti will resume on August 10.
Before it made a U-turn on Monday, the Ogun State Government had last week asked all boarding students to go for a compulsory COVID-19 test.
Parents, whose children are in private schools, on Sunday protested against the N25,000, which their children were asked to pay for the test.
But Aliyu while responding to a question on the issue pointed out that the status of somebody could only be confirmed as of the time the test was conducted.
He said, “It is only valid for that period of time; for that point in time when you had the swab taken. The next day, you could have a positive result, especially if you are in an incubation period.
“It is far more important to monitor for symptoms and check for temperature, and make sure that students that have symptoms of cough or any other respiratory symptoms are told to stay back at home and seek medical attention.
“This is far more useful than doing COVID-19 test before they resume. It is safer as well to monitor the students rather than test them at a particular point in time.”
Aliyu also announced that the PTF would on Thursday release new protocols in the next phase of efforts to curtail further spread of coronavirus in the country.
“I will like to also remind us all of the safety guidelines for the eased lockdown phase two, which we are currently in and this will continue to be in place until Thursday, August 6, when we will announce a new protocol for the third phase.”
Aliyu also noted that more countries were recording a second wave of the pandemic, forcing them back into lockdown.
He said, “The PTF will like to appeal to state governments and religious bodies to proactively prevent transmission of the virus by continuing to advocate and practise the approved preventive measures and guidelines. Specifically, we urge businesses that are reopening to align themselves to our efforts by establishing and practising COVID-sensitive business precautionary measures.”
Corroborating Aliyu, the Chairman of the task force, Boss Mustapha, said the new protocols would be released during the next briefing of the task force on Thursday after its sixth interim report must have been submitted to the President.