The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has identified human resistance to change and stigmatisation as part of the challenges in containing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Mustapha said this at the bi-weekly Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing on Thursday while reminiscing on the achievements of the task force in the past three months.

He said the national response continues to face several challenges as there is no known cure for the virus.

“Like the rest of the world, our national response continues to face challenges, especially as there is no known cure for the virus, presently.

“These include inadequate infrastructure, manpower shortage, global shortage of essential items (test kits, PPE), strain on the economy which has compelled the need to balance between lives and livelihoods.

“By far the greatest challenges are human resistance to change, stigmatisation, mental health, skepticism, culture, religious belief, rising incidents of domestic violence and a host of others,” he said.

Mr Mustapha’s statement may be related to repeated violation of COVID-19 safety guidelines by the general public.

Mr Mustapha who doubles as the chairman of the task force has repeatedly warned Nigerians of the risk involved in disobeying already established guidelines to limit the spread of the virus.

More risks

At the briefing, the national coordinator of the task force, Sani Aliyu, noted that people are more prone to contracting the virus now than ever before.

He said this is due to the expanding rate of community infections in the country.

“The fact that we are receiving many reports on the flouting of the guidelines by individuals, groups and organisations, is simply unacceptable.

“As I said in the past, COVID-19 is far from over globally, neither is it over in Nigeria. There is no doubt that a lot of community transmission is happening and it continues to increase across the states.

“Now, more than ever before. If you go out, you are more likely to get COVID-19 than before. You’re at risk of acquiring COVID-19, because of the numbers we have now is more than three, four weeks ago when we had the lockdown.

“So there isn’t any room for relaxation at this point,” he said.

Moving forward

Mr Mustapha, however, warned that the COVID-19 virus “is still much around and real”.

He said the relaxed lockdown should not be misinterpreted to mean the pandemic is over

“As you are aware, the main focus is on community engagement and risk communication while not neglecting the need to obey all the guidelines and non-pharmaceutical measures,” he said. “We therefore crave your buy-in so that we can collectively become champions in the efforts to wipe out the virus.”

“Always remember, that the virus is real, potent and dangerous. Our relaxed lock down should never be interpreted to mean otherwise,” he srated.