COVID-19: Adopting Europe’s style will kill economy, Senate warns FG —
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COVID-19: Adopting Europe’s style will kill economy, Senate warns FG



SENATE has warned the federal government that adopting the European style of fighting the deadly COVID-19 pandemic would kill the economy.
This is even as the National Coordinator, Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19, Dr. SaniAliyu, admitted that poverty is one of the strongest weapons against the pandemic.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC,Kogi West), gave the warning during an interactive session with stakeholders in the aviation and health sectors on safety measures in the wake of the commencement of international and domestic flights.
Senator Adeyemi, in his remarks at the interactive session, jointly organised with the Senate Committee on Health, said though based on the realities on ground, COVID-19 is real but not potent in Nigeria and many African countries.
According to him, based on that reality, it is wrong for stakeholders to be swallowing hook, line and sinker, measures being adopted to fight it in Europe, America, China etc.
“There is something in us as Africans that is not in them in Europe and America which made COVID-19 not to be disastrous here as it was there. In the light of this, measures that are detrimental to the livelihood and well-being of Nigerians should be avoided, so as not to kill the economy,” he said.
The lawmaker specifically faulted the policy adopted by PTF which allows only private laboratories to carry out tests on intending travellers abroad.
The measure, according to him, is detrimental to average Nigerians who are being forced to cough out N75,000 for such tests.
“The amount is too high, it should be brought down and public health laboratories should be equipped to carry out the tests.
“People are not finding things easy as a result of the way and manner that COVID-19 is being fought in the country and as their representatives, feelers reaching us indicate a revolt against government in December if drastic actions are not taken between now and then to make things easier,” he warned.
Speaking in the same vein, Senator BiodunOlujimi (PDP,Ekiti South) questioned the Minister of Health, Dr. OsagieEhanire, and Aliyu on the usefulness of face masks in Nigeria based on the realities on ground.
She said based on what she saw in many communities in Ekiti State last week, residents have jettisoned its usage.
“When I visited some communities in Ekiti State last week, nobody put on face masks and in fact, some of them told those who put it on not to bring COVID-19 to them.
“These are clear signs that methods and approaches being used to fight the pandemic should be re-assessed and changed since the pandemic for reasons yet to be scientifically established, is far less potent here than it is in Europe, America etc,” she said.
She pointedly asked the PTF national coordinator the reasons behind the success story in Nigeria.
In his response, Aliyu said the three reasons already identified are poverty, demography and aggressive nature of African countries against the pandemic.
According to him, though the factor of poverty as part of the success story against COVID-19 in Nigeria is controversial, but it is generally believed that the pandemic gets weakened in crowded and stuffy areas.
“Demographically, only three percent of Nigerians are above the age of 65 as against 20 percent, 18 percent of such populations in European and American countries where death casualties were high.
“Aggressive nature of African countries against the pandemic also helped tremendously in containing its spread in Nigeria and many African countries,” he said.
The joint committee, however, ordered the minister and the PTF national coordinator to enlarge the scope of laboratory testing by including public ones and ensure reduction in the cost.
Chairman of the joint committee, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe (APC,Kwara Central), said the committee is expecting response action plans from the minister and the PTF within the next two weeks.

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