• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Coronavirus outbreak may worsen in Nigeria – Minister

Lai Mohammed
Lai Mohammed, Minister of information and Culture has expressed concerns that the Coronavirus in Nigeria may be worse than it is now, this is just as the country recorded a rapid surge in the number of confirmed cases within few days.
Currently, Nigeria has recorded a total of 40 confirmed cases with one death across  six states.
The minister speaking at a press briefing in Abuja said tougher measures will be put in place to curb the disease spread. He regretted that Nigerians are taking the disease for granted and the country  has refused to succumb to panic in tackling this disease.
Mohammed noted also that some political and religious leaders have either denied the existence of coronavirus or have defied the directives to avoid a large gathering.
“Leaders of all hues must show great responsibility at this time. They must avoid putting the lives of not just their followers but also those of the general public in danger. Nigerians too must take responsibility, do what they are requested to do to stay safe and stop blaming others. For those who would continue to
willfully flout the directives aimed at checking the spread of this disease, the long arm of the law will soon catch them.
“The truth is that things may yet get worse than it is now, hence the need for all hands to be on deck. Tougher decisions may yet be on the way to contain this disease. But whatever decision is taken will be in the best interest of Nigerians.
The minister recalled that the federal government has put in some measures already to include; restriction of travel from high burden countries, Shutdown of international airports in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt, Credit relief of 1.1 Trillion Naira announced by the CBN, among others.
Mohammed further sought the need the cooperation of all Nigerians in the area of ‘contact tracing’. He warned that those who will not cooperate by submitting to the authorities, as required, the government will use all lawful means at its disposal to trace and bring them in.
“Having now shut our gateway airports, the biggest assignment for us is ‘contact tracing’ to find all those who may have come into contact with those who have the disease,he said.
Mohammed also debunked the myth that the disease cannot affect Africans. According to him,  no one is immune to this disease.
“In New York, for example, 54% of those infected are between the ages of 18 and 49. As the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned, young people are not immune to coronavirus and must avoid
socialising and communicating it to older, more vulnerable people.”
The minister further warned against fake news, saying it could be more deadly than the virus. He informed that government is already working with Facebook and WhatsApp in that regards.

Godsgift Onyedinefu