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Experts highlight ineffectiveness of safety tunnels,fumigation in COVID-19 fight

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Experts have described the use of safety tunnels and fumigation for the prevention of COVID-19 as a “useless enterprise.”

The submission was made yesterday at a virtual colloquium organised by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in collaboration with the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) and Premium Times.

JAMB’s Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, said the forum followed the mounting divergent opinions from professionals on some of the pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical measures being adopted by the relevant authorities to check the spread of the virus.

He said the resolution would immensely aid the quest to effectively contain the disease.

“The contributions have been very enormous. Many things that were not cleared are now cleared. We believe the over 300 participants who are herewill tell others who are not here.

“We should be doing things rightly and be taking all the precautions against COVID-19. What brought JAMB into this was that we wanted to do the boots (safety tunnels) for all of our state branches and it cost a lot of money. And when there were doubts, we needed to bring people together. We didn’t want to do something wrong,” he pointed out.

Also speaking, Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Dr. Aliyu Sani, argued that there was no scientific basis for deployment of disinfectant tunnels in public places as a preventive measure against the pandemic.

His submission was corroborated by majority of the participants, who were mostly heads of microbiology departments of tertiary institutions.

But the Executive Vice Chairman of National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Muhammed Haruna, differed, saying the arguments were not backed by clinical evidence.

Haruna, whose agency, has been churning out disinfectant tunnels, said countries like China and India adopted same to curb the spread of the virus, arguing that the advisory by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the non-effectiveness of the product could be reviewed in the future.

On his part, representative of the Nigerian Academy of Science, Prof Sunday Bwala, warned against the commercialisation and politicisation of the scourge

In his remark, president of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, Prof. Francis Egbokharu, called for clear-cut preventive measures understandable by the people.

The participants also agreed that hand washing for 40 seconds, regular use of face mask and other scientific-proven preventive measures were key to keeping the bug at bay.

Besides, the United Nation has said bridging gender divide could save lives during emergencies.

Its agency, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) informed that digital gender divide was blocking women from becoming equal stakeholders in society, thereby putting communities at a greater risk

ITU and the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) underscored the critical point in a report titled, “Women, ICT and Emergency Telecommunications: Opportunities and Constraints.”

According to the document, in the wake of a disaster, women are more vulnerable to death. It pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic had devastating social and economic consequences for women and girls because they comprise the majority of healthcare workers, and are over-represented in the informal economy as well as take on most domestic work, thus compounding pre-existing inequalities.

ITU said at the same time, women are critical partners in building disaster resilience, though a range of existing barriers limits their ability to protect themselves and participate in decision-making throughout the phases of the risk management cycle.

Its Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao, said the joint report would help in integrating women’s needs into national disaster risk reduction frameworks.


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