EDITORIAL: Nigerians must maintain responsible behaviour to fight covid-19

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In late February when the first index case of covid-19 was recorded in Nigeria, little did the government and all Nigerians know that the pandemic would hold the country grip for this long. Although the index case and his immediate contact eventually recovered from the virus, as at 21 July, 805 Nigerians have lost their lives to covid-19 related complications.

Five months after the first case was recorded, 37,801 have been infected, 15,677 recovered while 21,319 remain active. The Federal Government through the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has for months coordinated the various efforts to contain the spread of the virus. The Task Force coordinated the provision of guidelines for the reopening of various sectors of the Economy and the society. In all, as a result of the community spread of the virus, the Task Force advised that Nigerians should endeavour to use facemask whenever in public places.

At every briefing organised by the Task Force, Nigerians are reminded that containing the spread of the disease is a personal responsibility expected of the public. “Nigerians at all levels must take responsibility for our actions, adopt behavioral modification, ensure compliance with advisories and provide guidance to our followers and youths,” Mustapha said during one of the briefing in April.

It is however disheartening that most Nigerians flout the advice and go about their normal businesses like the pandemic is over or it never occurred. While the government imposed total lockdown and restriction of inter-state movement, some Nigerians continued to violate the lockdown and engaged in interstate traveling which in no little limit contributed to the escalation of the virus to every part of the country.

To drive home the seriousness attached to the precautionary measures to contain the spread of the virus, states like Ondo, Ekiti and Rivers States have begun to arrest and prosecute defaulters of government’s directive on facemasks and social distancing.

It is important that Nigerians abide by the stipulated guidelines provided by the government. Nigerians must understand that such measures are not to teleguide but necessary precautions needed for the greater good of the general public.

We commend the efforts of the government especially the Federal and states government in the fight against the virus, yet we challenge that the same vigor being expended in combating the virus should be reciprocated in the fight against other ailments in the country.

Meanwhile Nigerians must adhere religiously to the various guidelines provided by the Task Force, this is no small contribution to contain the spread of the virus. Sticking to the guidelines would no doubt fast track the return to normal ways of life prior to the pandemic.

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