COVID-19: Nigerians Kick Against Relaxation of Social Gathering in Some States

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Nigerians kick against the relaxation of the ban on social gathering announced by some state governors on Thursday. The relaxation is to enable Christians in their states to celebrate Easter. By the announcements, the Christians and Muslim are free to hold church services and Friday Prayers respectively. Katsina and Taraba states were among the states the relaxation was announced.

The purported goodwill did not go down well with many Nigerians. They frowned against the decision of the governors. Health Sector Reform Coalition (HSRC) expressed fears that such relaxation could aid the spread of COVID-19.

The HSRC said in a statement that it is very important for all Nigerians to rise up to the challenges of containing the spread of COVID-19. HSRC called on the state governors concerned to cancel the directives. They noted it is for the benefit of the country that all sates should wait till Federal Government and NCDC relaxes the restriction.

The statement said in part, “…Because our testing is grossly inadequate, the true numbers of cases in Nigeria may be hidden. It is highly likely that community spread is happening because up to 85% of the infected may be asymptomatic yet capable of transmitting the virus.

“Our containment is still in the nascent stage, this is not the time to relax our guard.  The couple of weeks are very critical in containing an upsurge in the number of confirmed cases.”

The coalition rather advised the Federal Government and State Governments to increase the delivery of economic mitigation packages to households and individuals that are in need, to reduce the pressure on people to go out for their daily living.

They urged Nigerians to continue to listen to the advice of health experts represented by NCDC and WHO at this critical time for nothing is more important than staying alive.

“We acknowledge and value the role of religious leaders and faith-based organizations in providing spiritual support through faith for their followers in a healthy and safe environment.

”HSRC further appreciates the socio-economic difficulties being faced by our people over the lockdown across the country.

“Unfortunately, options are limited for now in the best ways to fight the spread. Scientific evidence and experience from developed and developing countries reinforce that avoiding crowd, physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene are still the best ways to prevent the spread and associated deaths. With the high number of people living in poverty, high prevalence of chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes (underlying diseases) and very weak health systems, it will be catastrophic if the virus spreads widely in Nigeria