The Presidential Taskforce on Coronavirus has urged Nigerians not to let down their guards and also take ownership of the fight against the disease by following strictly health advisories.
It also disabused some people of the nation that coronavirus pandemic was not real and that it is a scam, saying those having the notion are not being fair to the families of those who have died of the virus.
The PTF National Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu, who made the appeal at Thursday’s briefing of the task force, said: “The PTF is appealing to Nigerians to assist the government and all our partners at all levels to fight against this virus by taking ownership of this fight.
“This is by following strictly all the health advisories we have provided including always wearing a face mask properly not on your chin, not to cover your beard but to cover your face and your nose, maintain physical distancing at all times, avoid mass gatherings, wash hands frequently with soap and water, use hand sanitizer and disinfect surfaces.’’
He warned that with the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases there was need for Nigerians to protect themselves.
Aliyu said because of the severity and the life-threatening nature of the pandemic, federal and state governments were forced to introduce some measures including shutting down offices and the economy as well as restrictions.
“COVID-19 knows no race and class; only an insane nation will destroy its economy in the name of a scam. Today I will be talking about disbelief; I will be tackling headlong the issue of why people feel that COVID-19 does not exist.
“We are aware that many Nigerians do not believe that COVID-19 is real, many think that it is a scam or a ploy to access funds meant for public welfare, some do not believe it is real simply because they have not seen or do not know someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
“But tell me how many of you have seen a case of Ebola, how many of you have seen even a case of Lassa or even some of the common infections? You do not need to come across a patient with a life-threatening transmissible infection before you believe.
“A reasonable number of people still believe it is a disease that affects other countries but not Nigeria. Well, I’m afraid we are all humans and Nigerians there is nothing special about us that provides us with resistance against COVID-19, none,’’ Aliyu said.
The PTF coordinator added: “Many countries in the world are fighting this pandemic. Over nine million people have tested positive, not suspicion, but tested positive for the disease and at least 22,000 of them are in Nigeria.
“Governments across the world and even in Nigeria have shut down their economies and lost valuable resources in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19.
“The containment measures that were put in place to protect the public are there to protect the public; they are not there to swindle them.
“No sane country on Earth will destroy its own economy willingly, no sane country on Earth will take major decisions that they know would be detrimental to their economy, and even among the strong economies some of them have had significant drops in their GDP as a result of containment strategies.’’
Describing the ravaging pandemic as challenging, Aliyu pointed out that the profile of infected people has showed that COVID-19 knows no class, race or gender, saying it can affect anyone who is exposed to it.
He said relaxing some of the COVID-19 measures did not mean that the country was at a lower risk of contracting the virus.
“Let us not wait for the virus to reach disastrous proportions before we begin to believe and act; we have already seen this happen in many other countries, we must learn from their experiences to mitigate preventable fatalities.
“We know that mankind has survived previous pandemics. We know that this challenge will pass. We also know that for us to be able to face this we must not despair. We must face this challenge headlong together and survive it,” Aliyu said.