The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, says the spike in fake news and misinformation, despite repeated caution by the government, is distracting the fight against coronavirus.
The minister gave this position in Abuja saying the government is particularly worried about unverified local therapies circulating in the social media as cure to COVID-19 when no known cure has been developed for the disease.
He said, “If you go by Whatsapp platform, there are so many myths and cure for COVID-19 today.
“Some people will tell you, it cannot affect Africans or the disease is not even existing at all while some will say, all you need to do is to take garlic, take ginger.
“As we speak today, there is no vaccine or medicine for COVID-19.
“The only weapon to combat the virus is what we called Non-Pharmaceutical Intervention, which is largely sensitisation, advocacy, keeping very good hygiene, social distancing, no shaking hands and no gathering.
“These are the only effective ways to contain the pandemic and that is why governments are declaring total lockdown.
“Once it starts spreading, no healthcare in the world can survive it.
“I do not want to raise any alarm, but give a scenario, if one percent of our population is infected that is two million people.
“We do not have two million beds in all our hospitals combined, it is not a joke and that is why Nigerians should take the Government seriously.
“I pray that we overcome and contain COVID-19 but even if we do so next month, the effects will still be felt for many more months.”