Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has urged Nigerians to continue to comply with Federal Govervenment directive by staying at home as they celebrate Easter.
Ihekweazu said that staying at home was necessary to contain Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the country, while giving an update on COVID-19, in Abuja on Sunday.
According to him, the pandemic is a global issue and not unique to Nigeria and many across the globe would have loved to celebrate Easter by visiting family and friends,.
”However, this year, it’s different for all of us.
“The health and safety of all Nigerians must be the first priority, especially right now.
”Christians should observe, the most holiest of days in the Christian calendar, the day Jesus Christ resurrected after his death by crucifixion, but, within the confines of their homes.
“Because the virus is spread mainly through respiratory droplets exchanged from person to person, keeping people away from one another and avoiding mass gatherings altogether, is one of the most fail-safe ways to help stop the spread.
”Holding services digitally and live streaming the Easter message through various platforms, is necessary to reinforce the message of love and sacrifice which is what Easter is about.,” he said.
Ihekweazu commended Church leaders nationwide for taking responsibility in the effort to curb COVID-19 spread and leveraging on technology to reach and continue to encourage their congregation in the difficult times.
“Our short term sacrifice is for the long term gain,” he said.
The DG said that the virus spread rapidly through sustained close contact with an infected person.
He said that the mode of spread of the virus was the reason the federal government asked people to stay at home and observe physical distancing of at least two metres from other individuals.
Ihekweazu said this was important as some individuals would not show symptoms while some might show symptoms later.
On people living in same household, he said they could still share space provided they were daily washing hands and disinfecting used surfaces frequently and staying away from others when ill.
”We are asking people to stay home, to significantly reduce the likelihood of getting infected by others.
”While masks may be useful, they must be incorporated with other preventive measures such as hand washing and physical distancing,” he said.
Ihekweazu said that Nigerians should not stigmatise or discriminate against anyone with respiratory illness or a confirmed case of COVID-19, adding that it was not a death sentence.
”This is the time we need each other the most and we must #TakeResponsibility not only against the disease but against stigma in the society, ” he said.