The federal government said Thursday that the spread fake news is affecting the work of Presidential Task Force on the Novel Coronavirus disease.
Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, who is a member of the task force, disclosed this while briefing journalists in Abuja.
“Fake news is distracting the fight against COVID-19 and I think this is quite unhelpful. It was trending on the social media that the equipment that we received from China, from Jack Ma, have all been infected with virus. This is not true.
“Also, I was quoted yesterday (Wednesday) to have said that the PTF had distributed N5 billion to the most vulnerable people in the last 24 hours. That also is not correct.
“The whole idea of this daily briefing is to eliminate any disinformation or fake news because here we give you the latest developments in the fight against COVID-19 and it’s absolutely.. to go elsewhere to source for any other information.
“Whatever any other person in the task force does, either by appearing in television, radio shows or granting interviews is simply to amplify what we’ve given you here. So by being here, you’ll get authentic information, real time, on the fight against COVID-19,” he said.
Also speaking, chairman of the task force and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, said there was the need for state governments to prepare facilities that can take care of at least 300 persons in anticipation of a surge in the spread of the disease.
He said the federal government would intensify consultations with state governments in order to effectively coordinate the fight against the pandemic.He said beyond posing potential threats to humanity, COVID-19 is a threat to both the economy and national security of Nigeria.
“As we continue to assess the readiness of containment and management, we recognise strongly the importance of synergy with the states. It is important for states, whether in the frontline where cases have been reported or where cases have not been reported, to intensify the preparation of facilities that will help in the event of a surge
“Training of personnel in the management of these facilities is also a critical factor to the success of our strategy. The Presidential Task Force shall intensify consultations with the governors and other state agencies to achieve the much needed collaboration.
“In furtherance of this consultation, we are requesting that the sub-national governments should provide at least a 300 bed facility, either a hotel or any other facility that is available to them, with options, upgraded in different categories so that they provide basic nursing and earlier required procedures before patients are moved into the isolation centres or the teaching hospitals or any other facility.
Those facilities, starting from 300 should be expandable as the need arises,” he said.
Also speaking, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said Nigeria should be prepared for more confirmed cases of COVID-19 as contact tracing and testing capacity are being ramped up.
He said plans were on the way to start producing masks and other essential items locally.
“We are working with TradeInvestNG to see how we can quickly scale up domestic production of essential items like masks etc,” he said.
National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, said only neigbourhood markets and shops would be allowed to open every day between 10am and 2pm.
He said only stores selling food, pharmaceuticals and perishable items are permitted to open.