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JUST IN: Abba Kyari, aides self-isolate, as Presidential Task Force cancels briefings twice

An unconfirmed Aso Rock Presidential Villa source says Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Abba Kyari, has not self-isolates.

This was as the Presidential Task Force on the Coronavirus pandemic, headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, on Tuesday, canceled its daily press briefings earlier scheduled.

No reason was given for the cancellation.

However, expectant newsmen were advised not to hang around and to adhere to the social distancing directive, but that they should ready to be called upon at short notice.

Reporters covering the office of the SGF had earlier been invited via text message at 6:39a.m for a joint press conference between the SGF and the Chinese Government. But at about 9:40a.m, the journalists were excused on the guise that the Task Force was going into a closed-door meeting.

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At about 12:26p.m, another text message came that the press conference would now hold at 1:30p.m.

But by 12:59p.m another message came that the briefing had been cancelled.

When asked why the cancellations, the  Director (Information) Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Willie Bassey, replied: “It’s a sign of the time!”

No official source has confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari has tested negative for Coronavirus following a test carried out by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Neither had that of Abba Kyari been confirmed nor denied.

All those who had spoken had done so on the conditions of anonymity.

One of the sources, while confirming that Mr. Kyari had tested positive to the virus said that, “The Chief of Staff is in self-isolation, monitored by NCDC.

“His case is not fatal yet and his staff have been asked to self-isolate. No plan to conduct any test on any of them until they are showing symptoms of COVID-19.”

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika had, on Monday, said the Task Force was the only authority allowed to release information on COVID-19.

According to the minister, “In an emergency situation there cannot he multiple sources of information.”

President Buhari had, last week appointed Dr. Sani Aliyu, as National Coordinator for the fight against COVID19.

Aliyu is a member of presidential taskforce for the control of COVID-19.

Their terms of reference included: “to strengthen national response strategy particularly in the area of testing, containment and the management of COVID 19; Strengthen collaboration with all tiers of government, private sector faith base organizations, civil society, donors and partners and beam awareness among the populace.

The Task Force was also to direct the deployment of any relevant national asset when necessary; Lay a foundation for scientific and medical research to address all emerging infectious  diseases and advise government on the declaration of national emergency as part of the containment measures when necessary.

Other members are Minister of Health, Minister of Interior, Minister of Aviation, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and Minister of Education.

Others were Minister of Information and Culture, Minister of Environment, Director General, Department of Security Service, Director General Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and World Health Organisation Country Representative.