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The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, has denied proposing a national lockdown to tackle COVID-19 in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari had announced a lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and FCT for initial two weeks which was also extended by another two weeks.
But Aliyu on Wednesday in Abuja, at the 17th joint national briefing of the PTF on COVID-19, said such statement on a national lockdown did not emanate from him.
“My attention has been drawn to a fake task force media statement, which was said to be signed by me, talking about a proposed complete lockdown of the country.
“Not only did the statement patently failed, it was badly written.
“It is unfortunate that a small number of persons continued to engage mischief making at such a serious time when we are talking about coronavirus infection,” he said.
Aliyu insisted that the task force had not released any official statement on a complete lockdown.
He said he would rather refer to the SGF’s speech of Tuesday, on submitting formal findings to Mr. President, and which is yet to happen.
He said: “I request that the public and the media take caution in circulating or publishing unverified news. To be very clear, all formal statements on th emergency response are made through this daily press briefing or through official press statements.
“l will also like to applaud all those patients of COVID-19 who are now sharing the experiences on their own volition. This step is extremely harmful, encountering the wrong signal around COVID-19 infection.
“When we stigmatise persons, when we discriminate against them, when we scold people, what happens is that they go into hiding at a time when they need help and support and it makes our job more difficult.
“We can only flatten the curve if people come out willingly to report symptoms based on case specification; like fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. We need to encourage more people to come out with symptoms so that we can test them and isolate them appropriately.”
Meanwhile, there are fears that the Federal Government will take some tougher decisions in the coming days following the continuous rise in number of confirmed cases of the virus.
As at Tuesday 21 April, 2020, the official cases in the country stand at 782.
The Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Chikwe Ihekweazu hinted on Monday that President Buhari will make some very difficult decisions next week about the lockdown occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
He said this in Katsina when he visited Governor Aminu Masari to see the state’s preparedness for COVID 19. The audio of the discussion by the duo was obtained by our correspondent.
Ihekweazu disclosed that the president was scheduled to join the governors’ forum teleconference meeting to discuss some of the decisions.