The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said about 26 per cent of emergency calls made to its centres last week were ‘hoax’ calls.

The Director- General of the agency, Chikwe Ihekweazu, made this known at the bi-weekly Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing on Monday.

Mr Ihekweazu said some called to find out about the availability of the controversial COVID-19 drug from Madagascar, “but some said they were only calling to see if the emergency lines were actually functional.”

He said such calls “clog the phone lines and make it difficult for individuals with genuine cases to contact the agency.”

“26 per cent of all our calls last week were hoax calls. One in four of all the calls coming to the NCDC connect centre were hoax calls; people were just calling for one reason or the other – to check whether you are there, to challenge you, to ask you about Madagascar cure or something like that,” he said.

The call lines were made available to ensure people who may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus which has claimed millions of lives globally report immediately to the infectious disease centre.

However, many Nigerians have complained that these lines are always unreachable.

“If you feel feverish, keep coughing, have a sore throat and difficulty breathing, call on the NCDC for immediate help in 0800 9700 0010”; or send text messages to 08099555577; or WhatsApp message to 07087110839 or via Twitter and Facebook @NCDCgov or info@ncdc.gov.ng,” the NCDC had said.

Nigeria has thus far recorded 32,558 confirmed cases of the virus. Of these, 13,447 have been treated and discharged; 740 persons have also died.

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