By Ugochukwu Alaribe
UMUAHIA – To help contain community spread of COVID-19 in Abia State, the National Orientation Agency, NOA, has tasked residents to shun some attitudes which are causing the transmission of the virus in the state.
The agency stated that many people have shown total disregard for social distancing, use of face mask, stay at home and other safety protocols against COVID-19, stressing that such risky behaviours are detrimental to the fight against the virus.
Speaking during the advocacy visit on the increased risk of communication and community engagement on Covid-19, at the Aba Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, ACCIMA; Abia State Director of NOA, Lady Ngozi Okechukwu, explained that there are many myths being propagated about the COVID-19 pandemic such as the conspiracies about some persons using the pandemic to make money to quick claims of herbal cure, COVID-19 not surviving in hot water as well as the belief that COVID-19 cannot enter Nigeria.
She disclosed that the agency had devoted much efforts to debunk such myths which are capable of causing the spread of the virus.
The state Director also warned that the virus is not over, but likely to have long-lasting economic, human and social consequences which require all to join and check the community to community transmission of the virus.
In her words; “Today, we bring this advocacy campaign on increased risk communication and community engagement on the COVID- 19 pandemic to ACCIMA. The campaign has so far, been taken to traditional rulers, civil society groups, market men and women and the public, aimed at enhancing the communication of the risks in this pandemic and people’s understanding on the need to adhere strictly to preventive protocols of COVID-19 to break the chains of transmission.
“NOA is going into the phase of behavioural and attitudinal change where Nigerians must begin to take personal responsibility. There is high-level non-compliance on COVID -19 protocols, especially in rural areas, markets and other areas. Until we change our attitudes and observe the protocols, we can’t stop the spread of the virus.
“Placed against the large population in Aba, particularly the cluster of markets and businesses; the exponential rise of COVID-19 in Abia State calls for citizens to take responsibility to protect others. Everyone now has a chance to go for COVID-19 test as the Abia State government has commenced community testing.”
She further warned against stigmatization and urged the media and government to be cautious of their language and process of pursuing suspected COVID-19 patients to avoid discrimination and instilling fear.
While calling for a sustained fight against the virus, the NOA state Director urged residents to observe all COVID-19 protocols and take foods that could support the immune system.