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Nigerians need more awareness on coronavirus, says psychiatrist

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President, Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria (APN) Dr. Taiwo Lateef Sheikh, has bemoaned the level of awareness on the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, stating that it would only cause panic in the minds of Nigerians and lead to deaths.
   
Sheikh, who spoke with The Guardian yesterday on the psychological consequences of the pandemic, explained that coronavirus is a flu, which is a common cold that affects the respiratory tract of which 98 per cent of the infected people could be cured.

He added that there should be proper education on what the virus is all about, its causes, contact and transmission mode, prevention and hope of treatment.

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Sheikh said the COVID-19 pandemic, which is a global crisis, has also affected Nigerians in various ways ranging from lifestyle changes, enforced shutdowns, economic losses, family dislocations and separations, adding that many were becoming fearful of being infected, losing loved ones or even dying.

He said the media was not helping matters in the information they publish, stressing that the situation has been compounded by fake news and alarming reports.

He noted that pervasive media coverage was causing significant emotional distress to many people, saying individuals who are vulnerable may develop mental health problems while those with existing mental health challenges may experience worsening symptoms.

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