The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday said many Nigerians are “letting down their guards” in the fight against coronavirus pandemic.
National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu, said, based on observations from a national sensitization program, there is partial to total noncompliance with facemasks and physical distancing protocols by the public.
Dr. Aliyu noted that despite the increase in cases and the likelihood of contracting the virus, many Nigerians were paying less and less attention to health guidelines.
He added that the PTF will continue to collaborate with security agencies and state governments to ensure the guidelines are obeyed while enjoining citizens to play their part.
“Some of the observations that have arisen from these activities (the national sensitization program) include the fact that Nigerians have continued to show persistent and remarkable lack of compliance to COVID-19 prevention protocols, which is quite worrying,” Dr. Aliyu said.
“In the cities where adherence to these protocols was high in the first two weeks of the ease of lockdown, progressively, over time, citizens are letting down their guard and this remains a great concern.
“There is partial to total noncompliance with facemasks and physical distancing protocols by the public. Many Nigerians only use face masks to avoid security agents, where enforcement exists or where they are told to do so.
“There is also significant disbelief in the danger and impact of COVID-19. In parts of the south-east where we did a recent survey, 60 percent did not believe that COVID was an issue at all. We clearly are not taking the pandemic seriously enough.
“There are also many myths that also continue to exist within the social media platforms, ranging from conspiracy theories to get-rich-quick to claims of treatment of herbal concoctions, all of which appear to be putting our sensitisation efforts at risk.”
Dr. Aliyu continued: “Now, you are more likely to contract COVID now if you go out and don’t observe the strict measures that we recommend far more than when this problem started three months ago, simply because of the numbers we are currently having.”
He also lauded state governments who have been diligent in reporting positive cases, noting that “there is no shame in having positive results in your state. If we do not know the true state of the pandemic in your state, you are putting the lives of your citizens on the line.”