The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has warned state governments not to relax lockdown orders because this will only heighten the transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as there are evidences of community transmission in the country.
The Association particularly noted with serious concern the comment by the Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade, that social distancing is not needed while wearing a face mask.
It can be recalled that some states governors had ordered the relaxation of the lockdown orders and approved mass observance of Jumat prayers and Easter Sunday services.
In a statement, the President of the NMA, Dr. Francis Faduyile, yesterday in Abuja said: “The attention of the Nigerian Medical Association has been drawn to some isolated statements negating the established measure of preventing COVID-19 – social distancing; and orders by some state governors authorising the mass observance of Jumat prayers and Easter Sunday services.
“Of particular concern are: the declaration by the Cross River State Governor that social distancing is not needed while wearing a face mask; a moratorium on the lockdown to allow mass gathering in mosques and churches starting from Friday to Sunday in Rivers state; and the lifting of the ban on Friday prayers by Katsina and Kogi States government.
“We are aware that similar orders have also been given in Ondo, Ebonyi and Imo states which have approved mass attendance of Easter services.
“While appreciating the prime place of religion in our national lives and especially the value Christians place on Easter, we place on record that there is now the evidence of community transmission of COVID-19.
“As such, relaxing any guideline that promotes mass gatherings in any part of our nation now can only heighten and not flatten the curve of transmission dynamics.
“We therefore pray all authorities concerned to rescind their decision in the interest of safety of lives and implore the Nigerian Police force and other security agencies ensure that such gatherings do not take place.”