Eid al-Fitr: Fun seekers shun face masks, social distancing - The Naija Weekly

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Friday, May 14, 2021

Eid al-Fitr: Fun seekers shun face masks, social distancing


Healthcare workers in the country have been advised to stress the need for continued awareness about COVID-19.

The health workers were urged to step in so that people can understand that the pandemic is still around.

A physician at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State, Dr. Obi Kenechukwu, who made the call spoke with our correspondent against the backdrop of the Eid al-Fitr celebration whereby people shunned the non-pharmaceutical protocols of COVID-19 prevention.

Our correspondent reports that in celebrating the Eid holiday in Lagos on Thursday, many fun seekers had shunned the COVID-19 protocols put in place to curb the spread of the virus.

PUNCH HealthWise reports that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control through the National Emergency Operations Centre has continued to lead the national public health response in the country, with oversight of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

The NCDC is also working closely with all states of the Federation to support their response activities to the pandemic.

Several measures have been instituted by the Federal Government through the PTF-COVID-19, together with the Federal Ministry of Health to curtail the spread of the disease and protect the health of everyone in the country.

This included an initial lockdown of non-essential activities, closure of schools, a ban on international flights, and more.

On Monday, the Federal Government had declared Phase Four of restriction of movements across the country with the reintroduction of midnight to 4AM curfew effective from Tuesday, among other restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the deadly variants of COVID-19 being experienced in some parts of the world.

A statement signed by secretary to the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Mukhtar Mohammed, explained the reasons for the Federal Government directive.

The Federal Government also revived other restrictions that are meant to hinder the spread of the deadly variants of COVID-19 recorded in India and Brazil, Mohammed said in the Press release.

The closure of event centres and non-essential public places such as nightclubs was also approved, until further notice, he said.

Among other imposed measures, Mohammed said, was that gathering of religious groups has been reduced to 50 percent capacity, while official engagements, meetings, and conferences should continue to be held virtually.

In addition, he said, schools, which are currently in session, have been ordered to continue the use of approved antigen-based rapid diagnostics tests as recommended by the NCDC.

“All recreational venues, gyms, and indoor sports facilities are to close until June 11 when the situation will be reviewed. However, non-contact outdoor sports such as golf, polo, and tennis are not affected by these,” he explained further.

The security agencies in the country have been tasked to enforce the measures while state governments are to set up mobile tribunals for the prosecution of violators, Mohammed said.

“The national response continues to focus on achieving a balance between preserving lives while working on long-term epidemic control. This Phase Four of restriction of movement shall come into effect. We shall maintain restrictions on mass gatherings of sidewalk settings, with a maximum of about 50 people in an enclosed space,” he said.

Despite these measures, however, on Eid day, our correspondent visited various public places, including the Ikeja City Mall, Ndubuisi Kanu Park, Johnson Jakande Tinubu Park, Adeniran Ogunsanya Shopping Mall, and Leisure Mall to see how people are complying with the new restrictions while marking the Eid.

At the ICM, our reporter witnessed a very busy crowd filing in and out of the mall.

The correspondent observed that entry into ICM was COVID-19 compliant, as visitors were not allowed inside without face masks, while their body temperatures were also checked.

However, once inside, most visitors pulled their face masks to their chin or removed them completely, while physical distancing was only observed in the breach.

Our correspondent also reported that despite the restriction of not more than 50 people in any enclosed place, the mood in the crowded outlets at ICM were upbeat, with crowds milling around in clusters.

One of the supermarts in the ICM was packed full, with customers at the checkout counters observing no social distancing and jostling one another at the long checkout lines.

Also, eateries in different wings of the ICM were jammed, with customers sitting closely and no regard for COVID-19 protocols.

However, a visit to the KFC eatery located inside the Adeniran Ogunsanya Shopping Mall showed that most customers opted for takeout services.

In all the stores visited, adherence to COVID-19 protocols by fun seekers ended at the entrance, our correspondent reported.

A visit to Ndubuisi Kanu Park and Johnson Jakande Tinubu Park showed that although both were operating, there was scarcely any crowd at the parks.

While face masks must be worn and hands washed before entry into both parks, the NKP took a step further to record each visitor’s temperature before letting them in.

Asked what could be the reason for non compliance with the new COVID-19 restrictions, a medical doctor with Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State, Dr. Obi Kenechukwu said, “People are tired of COVID-19.”

When asked what could be done to get people to comply with the new protocols, Kenechukwu said, “I think what people need is proper awareness, most especially from health workers. We need health workers to actually step in.”

PUNCH HealthWise had reported that the strain of COVID-19 ravaging India has been found in Edo and Osun states.

Punch Ng

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