Christmas and New Year celebrations could boost the transmission of the coronavirus, Nigeria’s presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19 has warned.
“Ahead of the upsurge in travels for the Christmas and New Year festivities, we urge strongly that for this year, such trips should be put on hold firmly because of the risks involved,” PTF chairman and government secretary Boss Mustapha said on Monday.
“The transmission rate has simply become astronomical,” he said. There is, however, no evidence backing the claim that the the coronavirus is spreading at an “astronomical” rate in Nigeria.
Anyway, Mustapha noted that new clusters of cases can emerge in places that have so far been unaffected as people gather for festivities.
“There will always be many more festive seasons to celebrate,” he said.
Mustapha’s warnings came amid a reported surge in coronavirus infections in Europe and the US.
His advise to suspend festivities coincides with similar warnings by United Kingdom experts who, over the weekend, suggested that Christmas be postponed by six months.
“I’m really worried that we focus on Christmas and undo all of the work that we’ve done up until now,” Mark Adams, a public health director in the UK said over the weekend.
“I read recently an idea about bumping Christmas to June or July and having Christmas Day then, and I think that sounds like an eminently sensible thing to do,” he said.
The coronavirus pandemic began in Wuhan, China in the December of 2019.