NEWS

COVID-19: We’ll pay for consequences of mass gatherings – NCDC

By Babalola Seyi

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has stated Nigerians will have to face consequences of mass gatherings, especially as a result of protests, religious activities that have taken place over the past weeks.

It further said as a result of the curfew imposed over protests by some state government, the rate of testing in COVID-19 testing laboratories has slowed down.
The Director-General of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, made these known in Abuja during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

He said: “The outbreak is escalating around the world literally. We have held things down because of our proactive measures – the very effective airport screening which was put in place to limit the re-introduction of cases from countries where the outbreak is escalating.

“This virus does not know the reason why people are congregating – whether you are congregating for religious purposes, protest, partying, etc. This virus takes opportunity of people coming together.

“We cannot afford to let down our guards irrespective of what our anger is at the moment.

“As we move into the next two weeks, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that we have to watch the numbers very carefully. The reasons are obvious – we have gathered in our masses for whatever reason, and now we have to keep our eyes open to face the potential consequences. But those consequences are not inevitable. We can still do our part to prevent them.

“There are over 1,000 known deaths that would not have happened in Nigeria this year without this virus that has happened.

“There could have been a lot more if not for the proactive work we have done collectively as a country. We cannot afford to add this to the many challenges we already have.”

Ihekweazu added: “Over the past few days, we have reported low numbers, and those low numbers reflect the fact that in many states, we have not been able to test as much as we would like to because there have been curfews.

“40 percent to 60 percent of cases in Nigeria are reported from Lagos. Our labs in Lagos have not been able to perform as they normally would for the past two to three weeks.

“Many states in Nigeria have done extremely well in the last few weeks, raising their testing capacity across the country. So, we must stay on the board.”

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