The FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, has warned against discrimination against persons who have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 infection in the territory.
Aliyu in a statement by her Chief Press Secretary, Mr Anthony Ogunleye in Abuja, gave the warning at an emergency COVID-19 meeting of stakeholders.
She said that people should focus on curbing the spread of COVID-19 through obedience to extant guidelines of wearing face masks, maintain personal hygiene and observe social distancing.
Aliyu warned all stakeholders on the prevalence of community transmission, noting that it would take collective efforts to stop the spread.
The State Epidemiologist, Dr Doris John, stated that poor adherence to preventive measures increase the spread of the virus while the late presentation of cases had led to an increased number of fatalities.
John said that the major challenges faced by health workers in the fight against the pandemic are stigmatisation, denial, myth, misconception, confirmed cases refusing to be evacuated to treatment centers and low involvement of key stakeholders at the community levels.
She identified an increasing number of sick frontline health workers and the high number of imported cases to the FCT as a major challenge.
Earlier, the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, urged royal fathers and area council chairmen to educate and sensitise residents at the grassroots on adherence to established protocols in the fight against COVID-19.
Bello expressed appreciation of the FCT Administration to the frontline health workers and called for standing ovation for them for their efforts in the fight against the virus.
He said that the onus of spreading the information of the virus at the grassroots fell heavily on the shoulders of the Area Council Administration, traditional and religious institutions.
The minister, who said that defeating coronavirus pandemic required collective responsibility, urged stakeholders to support the efforts of the administration.
Also in his remarks, the Director-General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu commended the FCT administration for the construction of the road leading to the National Reference Laboratory at Gaduwa, Abuja which had increased the efficiency of the facility.
Ihekweazu, who applauded the leadership of the FCT administration for being proactive in its approach to battling the pandemic, also urged traditional rulers on sensitising the people at the grassroots.
Also speaking, Dr Sani Aliyu, the National Coordinator, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 said the best way to fight the virus was through attitudinal change by the people.
According to him, the virus is now in the communities and the important issue residents should be concerned about is ‘staying alive’ while the pandemic lasts.
The meeting was attended by religious, traditional and political leaders; the Director-General of Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID -19, Dr Sani Aliyu amongst others.