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Experts, residents raise concern over quality of face masks in Cross River


Medical experts and residents of Calabar in Cross River State have raised the alarm over the one million face masks being distributed by the state government from its garment factory.

The masks, meant to protect the people from the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19), according to them, did not pass through any medical or hygienic process.

Governor Ben Ayade, last Thursday, began free distribution of face masks produced at the state’s Garment Factory to residents of Calabar, as he issued an executive order that nobody would be allowed in public in the state without a nose mask.

The order took effect from yesterday.However, a resident, Andrew Ogar, said “the intention of government is good but the packaging and handling of the face masks call for concern. This is just ordinary cloth sewn by tailors. Some peoples are also producing and hawking theirs at Watt Market at N100 each.”

Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Agam Ayuk, said “the level of protection differs based on the type of face mask used, and the best gives you about 95 to 99 per cent protection from certain virus.”

He however said that the masks from the garment factory ought to be ionised “because those are just cloth materials gotten from a stock. What level of hygiene has it gone through before you start distributing them to the public? These are some of the challenges.”

Commenting on the issue at a briefing in Calabar, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu, who is also the Chairman of COVID-19 Team, said the claims by WHO and some members of the public should not be taken serious.

“About the WHO directives, I have stated very clearly and I will still say it over and over that, in China, as we speak, no one is allowed to leave their houses or places of service without face mask. It is a policy and it has saved them a lot of problem.”

Already, the implementation of directive has started. Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to Governor, Christian Ita, said “Anyone who flouts the order shall have his or herself to blame.”


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