The Federal Government is tracing 4,370 people of interest over the outbreak of coronavirus in the country.
This was announced during a press conference in Abuja by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
The Minister urged those who have had contact with suspected cases to immediately report to the authorities.
He called on Nigerians to support the authorities in this regard.
“We have 4,370 people of interest whom we are tracing. We urge those who have had contact with suspected cases to immediately report to the authorities.
“We urge Nigerians to support the authorities in this regard. We are on the verge of reaching the level of community spread.
“We must stop this immediately or we will record exponential cases in the days ahead. There is no better way to say this.” Mohammed said.
The Minister further stated that the government was not getting the kind of cooperation that this moment deserved from Nigerians.
He said some Nigerians defied government orders to stay away from large gatherings and some religious leaders willfully flouted the directives to ensure social distancing.
“Let me say, without mincing words, that we are not getting the kind of cooperation that this moment deserves from Nigerians.
“Many are busy engaging in meaningless criticisms instead of complying with the stipulated directives to keep people safe.
“Some Nigerians, who flew into the country from overseas, filled wrong addresses and phone numbers in their forms, making it difficult to trace them when the need arises.
“Some Nigerians defied orders to stay away from large gatherings while some religious leaders willfully flouted the directives to ensure social distancing,” Mohammed said.
He added that the government was doing its best but the citizens needed to do their best too.
“We have now gone past the stage of persuasion. It’s time for strong enforcement,” he said.
The Minister also harped on the rising instances of fake news associated with coronavirus.
He said the epidemic of fake news was now competing with the pandemic of coronavirus, and it was not helping the fight against the disease.
According to him, the danger of scaremongering could even discourage some people who might want to come forward for testing.
He appealed to the media to be more circumspect in their reporting.
He commended the decision of five domestic airlines – Air Peace, Aero, Azman, Dana and Arik to suspend their flight operations, adding that the suspension was a boost to the efforts of the government to check the spread of the pandemic.
“Some of the airlines have also announced one form of support or another for the government’s efforts to tackle the pandemic. This is very commendable.
“We are aware of more private sector support to the FG and will be announcing this after full compilation.
“We seek the support and cooperation of more capable individuals and organizations in order to defeat this pandemic,” Mohammed said.
He appealed to Nigerians not to panic as the Federal Government was determined to work with the good people of Nigeria to defeat COVID-19.