Nigerians hawking fake COVID-19 contract papers, PTF raises alarm

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has alerted on the circulation of fake contract papers purportedly emanating from the task force.

The PTF National Coordinator, Dr. Sani Aliyu, who revealed this during Thursday’s briefing, said some Nigerians are hawking the fake papers to hoodwink unsuspecting citizens.

He admonished that people should beware of such individuals as the PTF does not award contracts.

Dr. Aliyu said: “I wanted to again inform the public that PTF has not been giving out contracts, the PTF is not a procurement body, we understand that there are a lot of fraudulent letters going round trying to sell contracts to members of the public.

“So, buyers beware. We are not signing off any contract on behalf of the PTF.”

He noted that the advent of COVID-19 has a negative impact of healthcare delivering as there is a reduction in health services that can arise from disruption in medical supply chain or the availability of human and financial resources.

He said one of the effect is also decline in people accessing healthcare because of fear of contracting COVID-19 as well as reduction in medical diagnosis of other conditions “and for the most vulnerable population like children, the elderly and those with underlying illnesses such as diabetes.”

Dr. Aliyu also said the PTF has observed a steady rise in child and maternal mortality as a result of disrupted infectious services; reduction in access to care for other chronic conditions including HIV because treatment is not being delivered in the hospitals.

The PTF coordinator added: “We are also seeing diversion of certain products like second line HIV drugs, for instance Lopinavir and Litonavir, that are used for HIV treatment, are now currently being used for COVID-19 infection and as mentioned my the NCDC DG, we are asking health institutions to make sure that they have proper assessment processes for people presenting for possible COVID-19.

“They must have holding areas and screening areas so that their staff can protect themselves and at the same time be able to deliver care. Hospitals are there to look after patients, not to turn patients back. People should not be allowed to die or suffer because of COVID-19 infection. We must not allow preventable deaths to occur in our communities simply because of COVID-19 or because we are afraid of it.”

In his remark, the Chairman of the task force and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, alerted on the consequences of Nigerians refusing to help in contact tracing to isolate those possibly exposed to the virus, saying that it hinders the effort to slow the spread of the disease in the country.

He noted that many fatalities have occurred due to sudden change in infected persons’ conditions outside isolation centres.

The SGF appealed to citizens to cooperate whenever agents of state reach out to them.

Mustapha stated: “We have received reports about citizens refusing to help with contact tracing as well as going into isolation after testing positive. It is in the interest of everybody that contacts are traced so as to slow down the spread. It is also in our interest to go into isolation facilities for close monitoring.

“A number of fatalities have been recorded due to change in the condition of patients while staying outside the isolation facilities. Our appeal is that if agents of the state get in touch with you regarding testing, contact tracing activities, please cooperate

“Also, let’s be prepared to be quarantined and to monitor our health for onset of symptoms because it is important for us to break the chain of transmission and prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in our dear country.”

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