Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Official warns protests in Nigeria could speed up COVID-19 transmission

As tens of thousands of demonstrators continue to take to the streets across Nigeria against extra-judicial killings and brutality by police, a senior official warned that mass gatherings may speed up COVID-19 transmission in the next two weeks.

The prediction was due to a total disregard for the preventive measures against the virus exhibited by thousands of citizens protesting in the ongoing #Endsars campaign across various cities in the country, Boss Mustapha, secretary to the Federal Government and chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, told the media in Abuja on Monday.

Thousands of Nigerians in the past days took to the streets across the country to protest against reported police brutality, harassment and extra-judicial killings by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a police unit for anti-robbery purpose.

According to Mustapha, any mass gathering that does not adhere to the non-pharmaceutical interventions that have been put in place, which include wearing masks, social distancing, keeping personal hygiene and avoiding mass gatherings, could become super spreader events.

"So I can say with a definitive voice that two weeks from today, get everybody that congregated in those places...we would definitely be contending with an increase in infections," Mustapha told reporters.

According to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, the country's tally of COVID-19 infections has hit 61,558 with 118 new cases on Monday. 


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