Iheakweazu says Nigeria cannot relent in its efforts until a vaccine is found for the coronavirus.
The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu, says no state in Nigeria is free of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Nigeria has recorded 20,244 cases in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, as of June 21, 2020.
That leaves Cross River as the only state in the country yet to officially record an infection, even though federal officials have complained many times about the state’s extremely low testing figures.
Cross River governor, Ben Ayade, has been critical of the Federal Government’s COVID-19 response, claiming that it’s too heavy-handed.
However, during a media briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday, June 22, Ihekweazu said no state can claim to be free of the disease, because viruses tend to spread wildly.
He said, “No single state in Nigeria is COVID-19-free. Not one. No country in the world is COVID-19-free.
“We can’t separate ourselves from the rest of the country. We live in a context. Viruses spread, it’s the nature of them.
“So, right now, no state is COVID-19-free. That’s why we have to keep doing this work that we’re doing.”
While 6,879 people have recovered from coronavirus infection in Nigeria, 518 people have died, with hundreds of cases being detected every day.
Iheakweazu said efforts to defeat the coronavirus should not be relaxed until a vaccine has been found for the highly infectious disease.
“We can only start thinking and talking about any state or any community being disease-free when we have an effective tool to fight that disease.
“That’s when we have a vaccine,” he said.
The national coordinator of the PTF, Sani Aliyu, appealed to Nigerians to stop behaving like the virus has been defeated.
He reiterated calls for individuals to take responsibility and adhere to safety measures including the wearing of face masks, and avoiding unnecessary social gatherings.
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