COVID-19: Nigerians now buying hydroxychloroquine in large quantities, PTF raises alarm

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 pandemic has raised the alarm over the attitude of some Nigerians who are buying the drug, hydroxychloroquine, in large quantities with the intention to use it for self-medication.

Chairman of the task force and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, who expressed his displeasure over this development during a briefing in Abuja on Thursday, warned against the risk inherent in self-medication.

He said: “Through the surveillance system set up by the PTF, we have received reports that Nigerians have been purchasing hydrxoychloroquine in large quantities.

“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 COVID-19 is highly infectious and dangerous.”

Mustapha cautioned state governors who have lifted restriction on large gatherings to have a second look as he observed that such action can endanger the vulnerable, especially the elderly and the sick.

While noting that he participated in Thursday’s meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) with state governors, he said: “During the meeting, the issue of alignment of their state level actions with the guidelines issued was emphasiSed. Similarly emphasiSed is the need for states to diligently implement and enforce compliance.

“Particularly, I underscored the need for the governors to provide personal and strong leadership, carry the policy of community ownership to the grass roots and create deeper awareness.

“The governors were also advised on the decision taken by some of their colleagues to permit large gatherings as such decisions could inadvertently endanger the elderly, the sick and those with underlying factors during such gatherings.

“The strong advisory from the PTF is that large gatherings beyond twenty persons remains prohibited and should be adhered to.”

The PTF chairman revealed that the House of Representatives has set up an ad-hoc committee on COVID-19 to highlight its importance, noting that the task force will collaborate with the committee in the fight against the virus.

According to him, “The PTF on COVID-19 is pleased to inform you that in order to underscore the seriousness attached to this COVID-19 pandemic, the House of Representatives has set up an ad hoc COVID-19 Committee.

“In deepening the existing collaborative spirit, we shall work together with the legislature to be more productive and add value to the overall delivery of service to Nigerians on behalf of whom we hold our responsibility in trust.”

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