Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has described news making the rounds, claiming that one of the Chinese doctors recently brought into Nigeria had tested positive for the COVID-19.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who is also a member of the PTF, debunked this claim during Wednesday’s daily media briefing by the task force in Abuja.
The Minister, who observed that the task force had been having to devote as much energy devoted to the fight against COVID-19 to dispelling fake news, being regularly spun against the efforts of government in fighting the pandemic.
The Minister, who had in the past few days devoted most of his time during the daily briefings to debunk fake news and explain developments to the general public, however advised Nigerians to discard reports about the government’s efforts to beat back COVID-19, which did not emanate from the daily briefings or the website of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
He also took time to deflate reports claiming that members of the National Assembly had shared a N700 million fund, describing it as fake news.
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“Whether members of the National Assembly are sharing N700 million, like I said, just as we are trying to fight and contain Coronavirus, a lot of energy is also being expended in fighting fake news.
“To the best of my knowledge, I’m not aware that any such money has been given to members of the National Assembly, but I know that fake news is not abating.
“This morning, there was a message that went viral, to the effect that one of the Chinese doctors tested positive and that news was supposed to have emanated from the Twitter handle of the federal government. I want to say, to the best of our knowledge here, there’s no such thing.
“I’ve also just received two hate dramas and other fake news while I was sitting here, which I’ve been unable to open. But we will continue always to debunk fake news and we’ll try our best to timely give you information about the COVID-19, either through our daily press briefings or through the website of the NCDC and the task force”, he said.