NIGERIAN health officials have expressed alarm that as much as 60% of the population in the southeast geo-political zone do not believe in the existence of coronavirus and regard the whole virus matter as a hoax to mislead them.
Although spared the worst of the pandemic, Nigeria has had 20,919 cases of which there have been 525 fatalities. Across the five states that make up the southeast geo-political zone, there have been 949 incidences of the virus with 21 deaths but despite this, most residents of the area are not convinced that Covid-19 is real.
Dr Sani Aliyu, the national coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, said that they found out that at least 60% of the people in the region believe coronavirus is a scam. He added that some states that were denying the existence of the virus were putting their citizens at risk.
“There’s a significant disbelief in the danger and impact of Covid-19, in parts of the southeast where we did a recent survey. About 60% of the population did not believe that Covid-19 was an issue at all.
“We clearly are not taking the pandemic seriously enough. There’s partial to total non-compliance with face mask and physical distance in protocols by the public as instructed mentioned by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control,” Dr Aliyu added.
He called on citizens to challenge those who appear in public places without their face masks. Dr Aliyu lamented the fact that many people only wear their facemask either to avoid being harassed by security agents, or when they are compelled to do so.
Across the southeast, Ebonyi has 264 cases of coronavirus, while the figures for other states are Imo 243, Abia 232, Enugu 144 and Anambra 66. In terms of casualties, Anambra tops with list with nine, while Enugu has had five fatalities, Imo and Abia have each suffered three deaths, while Ebonyi has only had one fatality.