Dr Chike Ihekweazu, the Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), says pre-and post-travel tests and self-isolation are now extremely important to avert any sudden rise in COVID-19 cases.
Ihekweazu said that Nigeria could not afford another large outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in view of the happenings in other parts of the world.
He made the assertions on Monday, April 26, at the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic in Abuja.
The NCDC DG said:
“We cannot afford another large outbreak in Nigeria; and we must do all we can to prevent this.
“Please, let’s take responsibility. Adhere to all public health and social measures in place to protect us from COVID-19 as well as other infectious disease outbreaks.”
According to him, the COVID-19 pandemic is not over.
“I am appealing to all Nigerians to adhere strictly to the measures put in place to protect us and our country.
“We have to do this to avoid sudden drastic measures that can also impact our economy.
“We now have several tools in place that were not here at the beginning of the pandemic.
“The Antigen-based Rapid Diagnostic Tests can be useful in large workplaces, schools, camps, and hospitals to rapidly test and reduce the risk of spread,” the NCDC DG said.
Ihekweazu urged the state governments to reinvigorate their responses; while heads of various institutions should introduce the measure as part of their health safety plans.
“Please scale up risk communications, keep sample collection sites open and available; ensure the laboratories are testing and contact tracing is happening.
“I also appeal to the media to continue to support us in sharing the right message. We need more people to be vaccinated to reduce the risk of a large outbreak.
“Please use your platforms to share the right message about COVID-19 vaccines and other preventive measures,” he pleaded.
The NCDC director-general said there were difficult decisions that needed to be made; but advised Nigerians, as individuals, to help avert any tough situation.
He said pandemic fatigue was not unexpected; urging Nigerians not to forget where they were coming from and where some countries were at present.