The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has warned that the country could regret if Nigerians do not follow protocols meant to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Dr Ehanire issued the warning during a briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja on Monday.
Of the 46,577 cases of the virus identified in the country so far, 945 persons have died, a situation the Minister of Health said is a sad reminder that the disease is real.
Dr Ehanire, consequently, reminded Nigerians that until a vaccine is found for the virus, adherence to the guidelines is the surest way to stay safe.
He explained that unlike before, many Nigerians now know people who have died due to COVID-19 complications, restating that the virus will stay for a long time.
“Many more Nigerians today personally knew a person who succumbed to COVID-19, and so I ask that we remind ourselves today that COVID-19 is still with us and will be for a long time,” he said.
“Until there is a vaccine, the only options we have to protect ourselves, are still the non-pharmaceutical measures that are proven to be cheap and effective, such as the appropriate use of face masks, physical distancing, and avoiding crowds. If we do not adhere, there could be regrets.”
Although Dr Ehanire admitted that the reopening of the economy comes with many benefits, the society should be prepared for the changes it will bring along.
“We must make an effort to balance the benefits of a reactivated economy with the need to keep citizens safe, with no loss in gains so far made,” the Health Minister explained.
While giving an insight into the country’s COVID-19 cases, Ehanire revealed that as of 0th August 2020, Nigeria has tested 317,496 samples with 33,186 persons discharged.
According to him, the COVID-19 infections have now been found in 549 of the 774 local government areas in Nigeria, adding that half the number of cases are concentrated in 20 council areas.
“Half of all cases in Nigeria so far are concentrated in 20 Local Government Areas, which could offer the attractive option of targetted attention, to focus on case finding, Isolation, and treatment,” Dr Ehanire said.