The Enugu State government yesterday declared its readiness to impose fresh safety measures that may include deploying military officers to enforce guidelines aimed at containing the further spread of coronavirus in the state.
It stated that of the 258 confirmed cases at the weekend, over 70 cases were health workers at various health institutions, lamenting that the attitude of residents was responsible for the rapid spread of the pandemic.
It argued that it was contemplating engaging the military in the enforcement drive because the rate of infections indicated that the police had failed in enforcing earlier directives, stressing that unless something urgent was done, the situation could get worse.
Chairman, Expert Medical Advisory Committee (EMAC) on de-escalation of coronavirus, Professor Emmanuel Ejim, disclosed that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi was disturbed over the rate at which people were dying in the state, in spite of government’s efforts to contain the virus.
He stated that the committee had some useful engagements and recommended that government should henceforth enforce the use of face masks, while the number of persons in public gatherings and celebrations needed to be curtailed in scale, frequency of occurrence and time frame.
“Additionally, elaborate burial ceremonies in an era of high rate of COVID-19 cases who may have died before their test results were released, puts the public at risk and therefore needs to be reconsidered.
“We must ensure that in paying respect to the dead, we should protect the living. Burial rights, therefore, must be personalised for only immediate family members of the deceased to limit the spread of coronavirus,” he stated.
Ejim added that investigation by his committee indicated that hand washing and other hygiene activities that were being adhered to initially had reduced, stressing that the development was worrisome, as COVID-19 was primarily transmitted through droplets and contacts.
“We must therefore urge authorities, Churches, Mosques, businesses, malls, banks, supermarkets, shops and markets to ensure that all persons who patronise them wash their hands with soap and water before they are allowed entry or where there is no water, use hand sanitisers with 70 per cent alcohol concentration,” he stressed.
Noting that the outbreak of the pandemic had continued to pose serious concern to all responsible citizens, Ejim admonished those have lost their sense of smell and taste or feel feverish to practise social distancing and self isolate at home. He insisted that malaria that had lasted for over a week was no longer normal, stressing that it could be an early sign of the virus.