The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, says the Federal Government is waiting for a grant to conduct further research on the Madagascar herbal formula for COVID-19.
According to him, preliminary results of the analysis of the Madagascar herb by the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development show that it is the same as the plant Artemisia anua grown in the NIPRID farm.
"Further research on its efficacy will be conducted when the grants for research is approved," he said in Abuja yesterday during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
Ehanire also disclosed that all government hospitals in FCT would become COVID-19 sample collection sites so that walk-in cases could have samples taken for testing.
He said this was to scale up the number of daily tests conducted in the country daily.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and PTF Chairman, Boss Mustapha, clarified that the school reopening was for only primary six pupils as well as JSS three and SSS three students requiring revision before examinations.
He said virtual meetings should be encouraged to minimise congregation of civil servants as much as possible.
He said government offices should restrict visits by those not on very essential businesses to their premises.
He also said a new rise in COVID-19 cases was to be expected in view of the eased restrictions.
He, however, said the government would proceed with caution and would not hesitate to change course when the need arose.
"What this means is that Nigerians should never mistake the relaxation by government as a signal that the COVID-19 battle had been concluded,"
He emphasised that the best way to manage the COVID-19 pandemic is the comprehensive approach of observing physical distancing, keeping personal hygiene, wearing face mask, avoiding large gathering and "staying at home if you should."
He urged that as domestic flights resumed on July 8, the new airport protocols be strictly adhered to.
Orders arrest of FMC Lokoja attackers
He appealed to all health workers and authorities of health care facilities to help reduce avoidable fatalities occurring from non-coronavirus-related conditions by attending to all patients while still observing the COVID-19 protocols.
He disclosed that security agencies had been ordered to fish out "the criminal elements" behind the Wednesday's attack on the Federal Medical Centre Lokoja and bring them to justice.
Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said Nigerian youths between the ages of 20 and 40 were majorly responsible for the spread of coronavirus; while majority of those bearing the brunt were 50 years and above.
He reminded Nigerians that despite the eased restrictions, the government had not relaxed the guidelines on mass gatherings.