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How politicians flout physical distancing order

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Dr. Garba Abari


NOA laments disregard of safety measures

Dreams of halting further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Taraba State may turned out a mirage, as the directive on physical distancing is flouted by politicians who ought to ensure its implementation.

This was observed when some top government officials and chieftains of the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were inaugurating the newly-elected ward executives in the state.

Citing the mammoth crowd that came together to witness the exercise in various wards of Sarduana Council yesterday, a medical practitioner, decried that their efforts to prevent the spread of the virus was being frustrated “by some politicians who are going round the various wards inaugurating their executives.”

The medical expert observed, “It is even the council chairmen who ought to be the ones discouraging public gatherings that are now going round gathering crowds.”

If such act were not urgently discouraged, the dreams of preventing community transmission of the virus would be hampered, he added. When contacted, the party’s spokesperson, Inuwa Bakari, said the party did not authorise anybody to do that, as the inauguration had earlier been conducted by the state chairman of the party without gathering crowds.

With the partial ease of lockdown approved by President Muhammadu Buhari now in effect, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has urged Nigerians to strictly observe the hygiene and safety measures approved by health authorities to avoid contracting the virus.

Reacting to non-compliance in parts of the country, Director-General of NOA, Dr. Garba Abari, lamented that a lot of Nigerians had shown disregard for social distancing, use of face masks, stay-at-home order for non-essential workers and other safety measures since the commencement of the partial lockdown.

In a statement yesterday in Abuja by the Assistant Director, Press, Paul Odenyi, NOA warned that such risky behaviour could be detrimental to the fight against COVID-19, as it could expose many to the virus.

It noted that the government and relevant stakeholders had been working tirelessly to contain the virus since an Italian brought it into the country.The DG said the gradual and phased easing of the lockdown “does not warrant carelessness but calls for stricter compliance to the guidelines issued by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

He, therefore, urged Nigerians to strengthen the practice of personal hygiene, especially regular hand washing with soap and water or use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers and use of nose masks in public, in addition to maintenance of two-metre distance from other people, refraining from handshakes, abstaining from gatherings of more than 20 persons and not going outdoors unless absolutely necessary.

Abari also stressed the need for prompt reporting of cases of continuous coughing or sneezing, difficulty in breathing and high temperature to the NCDC for immediate action.


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