The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says many Nigerians have yet to fully grasp how dangerous COVID-19 is.
He noted that such persons still think that the global pandemic is a joke.
The minister also reiterated that COVID-19 was not a disease for the elites as being labelled by a section of Nigerians.
Mohammed stated these on Thursday when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum held at the headquarters of the agency in Abuja.
He said that in spite of all the efforts of the government through the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, some people still live in denial that the disease was real and deadly.
“They still believe that it is an elitist disease.
“As a matter of fact, a colleague of mine once said that he went home with a mask and he was ostracised because people said only those who have COVID-19 are wearing masks.
“We need to appeal to Nigerians that this thing is not a joke and it is not just capable of killing, but can overwhelm our health sector,” he said.
Mohammed, a member of the presidential task force, said that a few charlatans were exploiting the situation by saying that they had cure for the disease.
He warned that there was no known cure or vaccine for COVID- 19, but non medication strategies including, personal hygiene, social and physical distancing and wearing of face mask.
The minister thanked the media for their selfless efforts and sacrifice in sensitising Nigerians to the dangers of contacting the virus.
He appealed to opinion leaders, traditional rulers, the clerics and others to take ownership of the campaign and go forth to let Nigerians know the danger of COVID-19.
“What are we asking for; wear your mask avoid mass gathering, keep personal hygiene and do not congregate.
“Those who say that wearing a mask is inconvenient, they should try ventilator,” he said.