Following the recently announced gradual ease of lockdown in the country, government at all levels and citizens alike have been advised not to take anything for granted but rather they should raise their levels of responsibility to society by ensuring they adhere more strictly now than before to the protocols issued by health authorities in the fight against COVID-19 in order to stem any spike in infection cases.
Dr Ngozi Erondu, an Infectious Diseases Epidemiologist and a Global Health Policy expert stated this on a radio programme, Abia State COVID-19 Update, monitored in Umuahia during the weekend.
Erondu who spoke from Dubai advised Abians not to be carried away by the eased lockdown which has become necessary all over the world as a way of balancing a health emergency and economic recovery, but to keep observing the stipulated health protocols, such as keeping distance, washing hands and using masks.
She said a reduction in infection rate can only be possible when all concerned act responsibly until such a time a vaccine or definitive cure is found for the virus.
A Senior Research Fellow at the Chatham House Centre for Global Health Security, Dr Ngozi Erondu emphasised that those likely spreading the virus most are those who are asymptomatic or who have mild symptoms in the age bracket of 20 – 40 while those who are having higher rates of severe disease and death are people in their fifties and above.
She said the mortality rate among the age group of the latter is high because, at that age, a lot of them have underlying illnesses that weaken their immune system but that with timely testing and management, survival is highly possible. She also stressed the need for people 45 and above to visit their primary care physician regularly.
She advised the government to also provide more handwashing facilities to the public in strategic places to ease the burden of regular hand washing on the people as they go about their businesses in this period of relaxed lockdown.
The Associate Fellow at the Global Health Programme, Chatham House, United Kingdom, further advised that religious and such other gatherings when necessary are better held outdoors as less number of people were likely to contract the virus which is transmitted through respiratory droplets when congregating outdoors than indoors, reiterated that surfaces should be cleaned regularly.
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