From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Pandemic has declared a message claiming that another lockdown had been declared by the task force as fake news.
In a short video to debunk the message, National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, on Thursday evening, advised the general public to ignore the message, describing it as fake news.
He explained that the PTF had its established channels on communicating its messages to the general public, indicating that the said fake information never emanated from any of the task force’s trustable channels.
“We are aware of a fake message that has been going round on WhatsApp that we have declared a lockdown in the country. That is absolutely not true. I call on the general public to please ignore this message and continue with their normal activities.
“I’m also calling on the public to please abide by our non-pharmaceutical interventions, including wearing of facemasks in the public, washing their hands and keeping physical distancing.
“There’s an established way we send out to the public, including declarations when it comes to infection control. So please ignore what’s been going round on WhatsApp”, he said.
Recall that Aliyu had at Monday briefing for the task force said even though the Taskforce was not planning to announce lockdown due to the second wave of the virus, it may imposed same if Nigerians continue to flout the laid down protocols to flatten the curve.
According to him at the Monday briefing, if the country starts having huge numbers of deaths and health system cannot cope, the Taskforce will be left with no choice but to announce another lockdown.
He had said: “On lockdown, the decisions for lockdowns is in whose hands? It is not in the hands of PTF it is in the hands of all of us the general public. Because, who wants to have a lockdown? We know the impact it has had on our economy and the country. It is very difficult and makes life difficult for everybody. But the reason why we are worried about the numbers is because at some point if the numbers continues to trend in this way, our health system will get overwhelmed and it’s not just about those people that will die from COVID, it’s people like you and me that might have underlying conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, malaria and other treatable conditions that may not be able to access health service because it’s been overwhelmed by COVID.
“So, in as much as I have been told that I am threatening a lockdown, I’m just saying the fact that we need to comply with these protocols, make sure we use our masks, physical distancing and hand sanitizer.
“There are countries in the world that are currently opened, their airports, businesses are opened but they make sure everybody wears a mask and they have been able to keep their numbers down. And if we do the same we will be okay but if we don’t and we get overwhelmed, and we start having huge numbers of deaths, and health system is not coping, what do you think will happen? I rest my case.”