From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
In response to the second wave of COVID-19, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has escalated its public communications efforts through a new campaign titled “Celebrate Responsibly”.
The NCDC said the campaign is part of the #TakeResponsibility campaign which began in February 2020 and focuses specifically on measures Nigerians need to take to protect themselves and loved ones during the Christmas and New Year period.
The “Celebrate Responsibly” campaign, which is being implemented with the Federal Ministry of Information and other Government Institutions and partners involved in the COVID-19 response, is specifically focused on the next four weeks, which includes the Christmas and New Year holidays, and the start of the new year, stressing the need for the Nigerian public not to let down their guard.
The NCDC explained that the campaign emphasises the responsibility of Nigerians, the government, private sector institutions, associations, communities and individuals in implementing and adhering to the COVID-19 prevention and response measures.
The NCDC in a statement on Tuesday attributed the recent rise in daily COVID-19 cases to the convergence of circumstances, including increased local and international travel, business and religious activities with minimal compliance to COVID-19 safety measures by the members of the public.
The health authority maintained that COVID-19 has continued to threaten lives and livelihoods, insisting that Nigerians must take all precautionary measures needed to contain the community transmission of the disease.
The NCDC said: ‘In the last two weeks, there has been a rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases across the country. On December 17th, a record daily number of 1,145 new confirmed cases was recorded.
‘As at 21st December 2020, a total of 78,790 cases and 1,227 deaths have been recorded in Nigeria across all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, with over 70 million cases reported globally.’
It maintained that enforcement of strict adherence to the safety measures is not only the sole responsibility of the government but individuals and institutions have a responsibility too and need to play their part in ensuring adherence to the preventive measures.
It added that the Federal Government, through the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, the Federal Ministries of Information and Health, as well as the NCDC and its partners, are intensifying risk and crisis communication efforts to remind Nigerians about their collective responsibility.
‘Critically, Nigerians are being urged to adhere to recommended measures by NCDC and other public health authorities, as they celebrate Christmas and New Year. Please avoid all non-essential travel within and outside Nigeria to reduce the risk of transmission.
‘The virus that causes COVID-19 is more likely to spread in mass gatherings especially when held indoors. We advise that people avoid mass gatherings during this time, or hold them outdoors with physical distancing, compulsory use of facemasks and provision of handwashing facilities or hand sanitizer,’ the NCDC advised.