Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
As protests continued despite disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has warned them to be mindful of the risk for COVID-19 infection.
The Director-General of NCDC, Dr. Chike Ihekweazu, gave the warning Thursday at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 media briefing in Abuja.
Demonstrations against police brutality have taken place in cities across Nigeria in the past week.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, had in September announced that youths under the age of 19 account for 10 percent of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
Osagie had said: “With regard to COVID-19 and growing complacency, it is important to stress that, even though adults, especially those 60 years and above are more vulnerable, complications do occur in all age groups. Records show that 10 percent of all positive cases we have treated are below the age of 19 years.
“They are also the same mobile group that can be without symptoms, but can easily spread the disease.”
Ihekweazu said: “The number of new cases we will have will be determined by our own behaviour and the circumstances that we find ourselves. So, right now we are reopening schools, schools by definition means you are going to have more people in confined spaces. We have published guidelines together with the Federal Ministry of Education to mitigate those risks. How effectively there are implemented will mean if there will be more transmission or less.
“You can see some of the demonstrations happening across the country. The virus doesn’t know whether you are young or old, policeman or a demonstrator, it uses the opportunity to jump from persons to persons.
“So, we will continue to advise everyone, wherever you are to continue to wear mask, you can still have you voice heard if you are wearing a mask. Whatever the circumstances, whether you are managing school or NYSC camps or outside, the important thing is to continue to carry out these public health measures.”
On the reported second wave of the pandemic across the world, Ihekweazu said: “the second wave in Nigeria is inevitable but it won’t happen here because it’s happening in Europe, it will only happen here based on our behaviour and our own ability to manage it. So, as we open up our offices, the onus is on the leaders of each office, to determine whether you will come into that room with a mask or without a mask. They will determine where there will be sanitizing system in that room or not.
“So, a lot of leadership will be required as we go into the next phase of easing the lockdowns.”