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You don’t need social distancing once you put on a mask — Gov Ben Ayade says


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BEN Ayade, Governor of Cross River State, has said there is no need to observe social distancing in preventing coronavirus, once citizens wear face masks in public. 

Ayade made this submission while addressing some residents of Calabar, the state capital on Tuesday, at the Peregrino Lodge (Governor’s official residence).

“I’m a professor of science and I know how this virus moves; I know its etiology, I know it transmissibility, I know its antigenicity; because I do, I know that once you put on this mask, you have already been protected.

“You don’t need social distancing when you are properly protected because your mucal glands that secretes the mucus and the musins already forms a network of coats to attack the virus,” Ayade announced to a cheering audience.

Ayade has a Master’s degree in Microbiology and a Ph.D in Environmental Microbiology, both from the University of Ibadan.

With his new finding, Ayade, selected commissioners and other appointees in the state as enforcers of the new order – which permits all residents to freely move around as long as they wear face masks.

The governor also gifted 50 branded COVID-19 vehicles to the task-force officials – to aid movement around the state and support enforcement of his new order.

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In accordance with the new order, residents caught driving without a mask on would have their vehicles impounded and would have to pay N300,000, a CrossRiverWatch reporter told The ICIR. 

Ayade’s preaching against social distancing is in contrast to the official recommendation of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The NCDC, which is the government agency leading Nigeria’s fight against coronavirus has repeatedly announced that social distancing is the most effective method of preventing coronavirus.

On a larger scale, the WHO has, as part of its public health advisory, recommended all persons to practice social distancing to avoid getting infected with coronavirus.

All around the world, countries are effecting lock-downs, travel restrictions to aid the growing need for social distancing in this pandemic period, given that no known cure or vaccine for the virus is available.

As at the time of filing this report, coronavirus has infected  over 1.5 million globally and killed over 88,000 persons, according to Worldometer.

Of the 17 states with confirmed cases of the virus in Nigeria, Cross River is yet to record a single case.

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Seun Durojaiye is a journalist with International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

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