Dr Vincent Okpala, the Commissioner for Health, made the call on Wednesday while addressing Bishops and priests of Onitsha Catholic Archdiocese in Onitsha.
Okpala said that religious leaders, who were authorities and influencers in the society, have important roles to play in helping to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“The state government has invested much resource to contain the spread of COVID-19, but the major problem has been lack of compliance by people.
“As religious leaders, we want you to make the best out of this pandemic by becoming part of the solution to curb its spread.
“During preaching, you can help persuade and educate people that preventing the spread of COVID-19 and loss of lives realistically requires more efforts than just prayers.
“It is important to adhere to the health guidelines,” he said.
The commissioner also explained the state’s COVID-19 Chain of Survival Strategies, which was introduced in January.
According to him, the strategies are Compliance with the COVID-19 safety protocols and early recognition of symptoms.
“Others are early identification with the system; early diagnosis and initiation of treatment by healthcare personnel; early initiation of contact tracing; early notification of results and initiation of treatment.
“These strategies have enabled early treatment and management of COVID-19 cases as well as reduce mortality rate,” he said.
Okpala commended the Bishop, Most Rev. Valerian Okeke, for seeking proper knowledge on COVID-19 to help protect and save the lives of priests and congregation.
Responding, Okeke commended the state government for its proactive measures in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
He said that the COVID-19 updates from the commissioner would go a long way in the fight against the pandemic.
He, however, promised that the Church would continue to advocate and enforce all the preventive measures instituted by the state government.
“I personally invited the commissioner so that we will help the state government to talk to the people.
“Now that we have the right knowledge on COVID-19, we will not relent in letting the congregation know what they are supposed to know and do,’’ he said. (NAN)