COVID-19: We Have To Ensure People Take Social Distancing Seriously – Health Minister
Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has warned that the rate of COVID-19 infections in the country could worsen if citizens do not strictly comply with measures such as social distancing and staying at home.
“We have to ensure people take social distancing seriously. The price of not taking it seriously is very high,” Dr. Ehanire said during an appearance on Channels TV’s News At 10 on Saturday.
The minister, who is concerned about the failure of many people to comply strictly with the lockdown order and other measures to curb the spread of the pandemic, believes such people “trivialise COVID-19 because they have not seen its effects.”
To address this misconception the minister said concerted efforts have to be made by all stakeholders including the National Orientation Agency, the NCDC, along with traditional and community leaders.
Also, days after a team of Chinese medical experts arrived in the country, questions have continued to be asked about their arrival, reception and the exact nature of their mission to the country.
One of the questions is why the Federal Government allowed them to self-isolate on their terms in a facility owned by construction firm CCECC, which invited and brought them into the country.
According to Ehanire, the government took that decision because it was satisfied that the CCECC had a suitable facility for self-isolation purposes and extracted an agreement for NCDC officials to be able to check in any time.
“We allowed the Chinese to choose their self-isolation space because the company in charge had adequate resources, the minister said.
Dr. Ehanire also explained that although the Federal Government did not invite or bring the experts into the country, they were welcome as the country could use their help.
“We didn’t bring the Chinese doctors. A Chinese company, in its own wisdom, did. But we are happy that they are here. We want to learn from their experiences,” he said.
Ehanire assured Nigerians that the country had medical stockpiles that would be crucial in the fight to stop the pandemic, with the additional equipment brought in by the Chinese team expected to further help.
“There is almost no healthcare system in the world that is ready for COVID-19. But the lesson is that one should be prepared. We are happy that we have medical stockpiles,” he said.