By Benprince Ezeh
BOSS Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19, has urged Nigerians to get tested for the coronavirus. He also advised Nigerians to avoid being in a crowded environment.
Mustapha said at the press briefing on Monday, July 13, in Abuja, that the task force has expanded the network of sample collection centers, and has set up a center at ThisDay Dome and all government hospitals.
He said that the task force would also develop an exit strategy beyond September 2020, called ‘The life of PTF’, noting that enhanced Risk Communication Strategy would be designed to educate the citizenry on the virulence of the virus, individual and collective roles, but more importantly, to tackle the deliberate misinformation being bandied around, especially in social media.
“An enhanced Risk Communication strategy becomes inevitable when we realise that within the last 24 hours, the world witnessed the largest single-day cases of 230,370, while in Nigeria, last week we recorded the highest weekly fatality of 70 deaths.
“The rising fatalities in Nigeria is not unconnected with denial and delay in seeking help,” he said.
The SGF supported the foregoing position with an insightful quote from Dr. Michael Ryan, World Health Organisation, WHO, Executive Director of Health Emergencies Programmes, on the rhetoric of denial and the need to take responsibility. “Every person needs to look at your own risk. You need to be aware of what is local transmission.
“You need to know what the transmission in your area is. We do this, every day in our lives as human beings. We manage risks, we decide when we cross the road.
”We decide when we fly. We decide when we have an operation or not to have an operation.
“Why we need information is to make those risk-based decisions. We need to gain the knowledge to be able to make good decisions. We decide on our proximity to other individuals.
“We decide on the intensity of our social engagement. We decide on how long we stay in that environment.
“We can be advised by the government. We can be advised by science, but in the end, it comes down to personal motivation and personal choice, individuals, and down to the communities. If it does not feel safe, it is not safe for you,” he said.
Mustapha noted that the PTF was also encouraged by the compliance messages that had gone viral on social media. “One of those that caught attention gave three major reasons why COVID-19 is spreading fast. They are My colleagues, So, I can speak without a Mask.
They are my close friends, so I can speak without a mask. They are my relations, so, I can speak without a mask,” Mustapha said.
According to him, this message is so poignant that if we juxtapose it with the fact that crowded places and closed spaces create environment for the spread, we should behave more responsibly.
He, however, thanked the author of the above and other related messages.
– Jul. 14, 2020 @ 17:20 GMT