The Nigeria Centre For Disease Control (NCDC) says Nigeria’s high population density made it more susceptible for transmission of infectious diseases such as coronavirus.
The NCDC Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, made the observation at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) briefing on COVID-19 on Friday in Abuja.
Ihekweazu said that in spite of the large population, the country had an opportunity to ensure effectiveness of its strategy to combat the pandemic.
He said that Nigerians would need to stay physically apart to flatten the COVID-19 curve.
“Nigerians are socially intense people, but we need to pay a short-term price for a long-term goal.
“Now, more than ever, we call on the people to observe physical distance while maintaining social connection.
“We have an opportunity to ensure our strategy is effective,” Ihekweazu said.
He said that wearing of masks alone could not prevent the spread of COVID-19, adding that it should be adopted in addition to other recommendations.
“Even when we make a decision on face masks, that is not going to solve the problem.
“It will just be an addition to social distancing measures,” he said.
The NCDC boss said that religious and traditional leaders had a role to play in giving accurate information on the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that as Nigerians looked forward to Easter celebration, there was need for all to take responsibility in the prevention and control of the pandemic.
“Today is Good Friday, it emphasises the importance of sacrifice for a longer-term goal,” he said.
Ihekweazu disclosed that the centre had identified 91 per cent of the contacts of confirmed cases of COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier, Dr Sani Aliyu, National Coordinator, PTF, noted that some state governments had relaxed the measures put in place to curtail the spread of the disease.
“We have noted that some states have started lifting ban or relaxing containment protocols.
“This is really not the right time to do so, partly because we still have an ongoing pandemic which is global.
“It is also not the right time because we can end up having real recrudescence of infections,” he said.
The PTF cordinator said that authorities of various states should know that the pandemic was all over and not just about Lagos, Abuja and Ogun.
“At this point, I am appealing to community leaders, religious, traditional leaders and state authorities to continue to support and encourage the public to maintain protective measures that are important in getting on top of the infection.
“There is also a very strong need for state governments to align with the Federal Government in the efforts to deal with the pandemic.(NAN)