The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has decried the rate of purchase of hydroxychloroquine by Nigerians.
While addressing reporters in Abuja on Thursday, the PTF Chairman, Mr Boss Mustapha, warned the citizens against self-medication, especially when they have the symptoms of COVID-19.
He explained that the drug has not been certified for the treatment of the disease and could be harmful to such patients.
“Through the surveillance system set up by the PTF, we have received reports that Nigerians have been purchasing hydroxychloroquine in large quantities,” said Mustapha who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
He added, “We wish to reiterate that this drug has not been certified for use in treating COVID-19 in Nigeria by the relevant health and pharmaceutical authorities. Self-medication of any kind is fraught with the danger of increasing risks of avoidable casualties.
“We, therefore, strongly warn against self-medication. If you are sick, please seek medical advice, and if you are confirmed positive, kindly self-isolate in an approved facility.”
The PTF chairman stressed that Nigerians must see COVID-19 as a highly infectious and dangerous disease, noting that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had warned that the world still has a long way to go in fighting the pandemic.
He quoted the WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, as saying that 106,000 cases were recorded globally in 24 hours, representing the highest single-day number since the outbreak of the pandemic.
According to Mustapha, the importance of the message is very clear to Nigerians who need to eschew skepticism about the existence of COVID-19 and its potency.
He also urged the people to change their behaviours and commit to joining hands in tackling the pandemic in the country.
The PTF chairman also addressed the issue of harassment of essential service workers by security officials enforcing the COVID-19 curfew and apologised to the victims of such ill-treatment.
He said, “For sometimes now, the PTF has consistently answered questions and provided explanations on the categories of persons and services exempted from some aspects of these guidelines particularly as it relates to restrictions on interstate movement and curfew.
“For the avoidance of doubt, essential workers including our indefatigable medical personnel, diligent journalists, courageous fire service personnel, telecommunications workers, are all exempted.”