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Health Sector Reform Coalition Frowns as State Governors Relax Lockdown, Movement Restriction

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The Health Sector Reform Coalition has condemned move by some state government to relax restriction of movements and social gathering in their state.
Stating that it is not yet time to start lifting the ban on public gatherings including markets, mosques and churches, the HSRC said that the restriction is key to avoiding the high number of deaths that might follow and the disastrous effects on the health system and economy, as being experienced in countries like US, Italy, Spain, UK.
In a statement jointly signed by Deacon. Mike Egboh and Dr. Chizoba Wonodi, HSRC COVID-19 Response Task Team Co-chairs, said that while there are limited ways of fighting the spread of the virus, avoiding crowd, physical distancing, handwashing and respiratory hygiene are still the best ways to prevent the spread and associated deaths.
It added that necessity is placed on the governors to make the right decision that will protect the citizens.
The group also posited that it would be catastrophic if the virus spreads widely in Nigeria.
“Trends from other countries shows that without drastic measures such as maintaining lockdowns and distancing, the numbers can easily rise exponentially over a short time. Between February 27 and March 27, the US went from 54 to 100,522 cases while Italy went from 593 to 66,414 in one month!
“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 group said.
The Health Sector Reform Coalition of Nigeria is also urging state and federal government to increase the reach of relief packages as it urged Nigerians to abide by health advisory to prevent the further spread of the virus.
HSRC “implore governors to cancel all plans or reverse the directives to lift the ban on religious and other gatherings until the NCDC and Federal Ministry of Health advise otherwise – No matter the pressure, this is not the time for populism.
“Call on 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.
“Ask all Nigerians to PLEASE continue to listen to the advice of health experts represented by NCDC and WHO at this critical time. Nothing is more important than staying alive,” the statement reads.
It added that while the COVID-19 does not go to sleep at night, market days, Fridays or Sundays, infected people without any symptoms can still transmit the virus.
“Religious and faith institutions are encouraged to explore means of conducting faith activities remotely/virtually (as long as required) and provide psychosocial and mental health support and resilience.
“Cloth face masks might help reduce the spread by those who are infected but does not fully protect healthy people from getting infected, so continue to practice hand washing, respiratory hygiene, physical distancing and crowd avoidance even when wearing a face mask.
“Clean/disinfectant surfaces such as doorknobs, handles, to remove the virus and actively promote attitudes and behaviours to uphold the dignity and rights of all people, and counter all forms stigma and discrimination associated with the virus.
“Even if you have good immunity, you can spread it to children, the elderly and other family members who are vulnerable and more likely to die from COVID-19
“States that currently have zero recorded cases are still not safe and closing state borders is not enough,” the HSRC said.

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