The Federal Government has warned Nigerians not to expose themselves to the danger of contacting the dreaded COVID-19 disease by believing in some false conspiracy theories.
The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, made the on Thursday in Abuja, at the 31st joint national briefing of the committee.
This is as he warned security agents against the harassment of journalists, health workers and other exempted essential workers.
He said that it is worrisome to hear some of the beliefs being held by some Nigerians about their possibilities of some immunities against the virus.
Aliyu listed such theories to include claims that Africans were genetically immune to the virus and that whoever is not such could not be a carrier of the virus and that wearing facemasks was a total cover against the COVID-19.
According to him, over 2,000 Africans have died due to the virus and more than 70,000 had been diagnosed with it.
He said, “Also is the ‘conspiracy theory’ that COVID-19 was a laboratory-generated biological weapon, created by some governments to harvest resources. We got the issue about Africans cannot catch COVID-19. We are all Africans and we all know that over 70,000 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in Africa, with over 2,000 deaths so far. There’s no doubt that Africans are getting the virus and Nigerians are getting the virus as well, we are not immune on the basis of being Africans.
“Another misconception is that for you to have COVID-19, you have to be very sick. No, the majority of persons, about eight out of every ten persons with COVID-19 will have mild or moderate symptoms that will not even require hospitalisation, a lot will not even know that they have picked COVID-19 because the symptoms will be so mild that it will not require them to stop their normal activities, nevertheless, they can still transmit COVID-19 infection and that’s why we have to protect ourselves at all times. It’s not necessarily that it’s only the person you see on a sick bed that has the infection. It could also be somebody sitting close to you.”
“Another misconception is that wearing a facemask alone is sufficient to protect you from COVID-19. Facemasks are used to cover the mucosal surfaces of the nose and the mouth. As far as I know, there are no facemasks for the eyes, so you can still catch COVID-19 if you expose yourself to somebody with the infection, especially if you stand very close to the person and that person is talking into face. So it’s important to maintain those other measures in addition to using facemask to make sure that we absolutely protect ourselves from catching this dreadful infection.
“Finally, is the misconception that COVID-19 is a biological weapon, created by governments or that it is a ploy to generate resources and that cannot be further from the truth. If you want to generate resources you won’t start by creating a pandemic, it is the last thing you need.
“In addition to that, almost every country in the world is affected by COVID-19, thousands of people have died from it, if it was a biological weapon created by a government, no government will destroy its own citizens, you would expect that such government would have made sure that their citizens are immune to this”, Aliyu added.
Also speaking on the harassment of journalists, health workers and other essential workers Aliyu, said he has repeatedly stated that essential workers are exempted from the curfew.
According to him, this is to enable them carry out their responsibilities effectively.
“Essential workers need to be allowed free movement according to the PTF guidelines. It is important that we continue to maintain our services across the country. We also need some economic activities while we are trying to get on top of this issue. I will be in touch with the chairman of the FCT task force and the security chiefs,” he said.