Coronavirus: Anambra markets constitute task force to monitor installation of wash hand buckets, sanitizers

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…thank God COVID – 19 is yet to reach Anambra – Adinuba

By Eze Nwabueze

In line with Anambra state government’s directive on individuals and groups to install wash hand buckets with water-tap kits and sanitizers in all the markets and even private homes, authorities of Anambra State Markets Amalgamated Traders Association (ASMATA) have set up a central task force to monitor compliance.

President General of ASMATA, Chief Ikechukwu Ekwegbalu who disclosed this yesterday at ASMATA secretariat in Onitsha, while speaking to newsmen, said although markets in the state would not be shut, because of the outbreak of the deadly virus, ASMATA has directed chairmen of all the market lines to provide the wash hand buckets and sanitizers in all the lines, while every shop must also provide same for its customers.

Flanked by the Legal Adviser to ASMATA, Humphrey Udechukwu Esq. and other central executive members of ASMATA, including some zonal chairmen, Ekwegbalu disclosed that the task force has been mandated to move into all the markets in the state to monitor compliance, adding that in the course of their inspection, any market found to have failed to comply with the directive would be shut down with immediate effect.

The ASMATA boss who commended Governor Willie Obiano for the proactive measures already taken by the state government to prevent the virus from entering the state at all, not to talk of spreading, further disclosed that ASMATA is working in tandem with the state government to provide testing kits, hand gloves, sanitizers, wash hand buckets and medical centers for the down trodden, taking into cognizance the fact that not every family can afford all these materials for themselves.

Meantime, the state government has boasted that the Coronavirus, known as COVID-19, which has been devastating the world since late last December, has not reached Anambra State which is priding itself as Nigeria’s safest state in the country in terms of security of lives and properties.

The state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C. Don Adinuba in a press statement issued yesterday, noted that even at that, Governor Obiano still not only shut down schools on Monday, March 23, directed civil servants not on essential services to work from home and limited the number of passengers in tricycles and buses, but also set up a 23-person Coronavirus Attack Team to work against the contagion in the state.

Adinuba noted that to underscore the importance of the team’s work, Governor Obiano chose to head the team himself with other members who included the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, the Chief of Staff to the Governor, the Commissioner for Health and his counterpart in the Ministry of Information and Public Enlightenment, the state Commissioner of Police, heads of the two teaching hospitals in the state and specialists from relevant fields.

Adinuba who stated that the State government has by these proactive measures once again demonstrated its belief in the old aphorism that prevention is better than cure, contended that the cost of preventing the viral outbreak is, in every sense, far cheaper than the cost of managing the crisis if it erupts.

“If the contagion could wreck Europe, China, South Korea and the United States, with all their sophisticated advances in medicare, it is not difficult to imagine what could be the fate of African countries if the virus spreads here. Had the Italian, American and British leaders, for instance, acted promptly as the Anambra State government is doing when the contagion was reported in their respective nations, the situation would not have been as cataclysmic as it is in each of these places today”.

“Italy recorded over 700 deaths in few days. No wonder open religious services have been closed all over the country, including the Vatican. In the United Kingdom, the British prime minister has issued a stay-at-home order to all, just as 16 American States have done. Some countries are on lock down”.

“I therefore enjoin Ndi Anambra to seek proper treatment from doctors and other medical staff members trained to manage viral outbreaks like the Coronavirus. The symptoms of the disease are high fever, vomiting, cough, sneezing and difficult breathing. I advise persons who have in the last two weeks visited any of the countries with up to 1000 recorded cases of COVID-19 to isolate themselves for 14 days because the earlier the disease is detected the easier it is to treat.The state government has promised to bear the treatment cost”.

“There are three hospitals in the state with isolation centres. They are Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital in Nnewi, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu Teaching Hospital in Awka and Onitsha General Hospital. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu Teaching Hospital, Ekwulobia General Hospital in Aguata Local Government Area and Umueri General Hospital in Anambra East LGA have surge centres, that is, they can absorb patients who may not be accommodated in the three hospitals with isolation centres based on existing facilities”.

“I charge traditional rulers, presidents-general of town unions, market groups, transport unions, trade unions, professional groups, the organized private sector, civil servants as well as religious leaders to be on the front lines of the spirited campaign to ensure that our state is spared COVID-19, since it is not the job of the government or medical doctors to fight this monster alone, but that of every person”.

“Each of us can contribute meaningfully to the campaign by washing our hands regularly with water and soap for 20 seconds which must be poured away if it is in a bowel, by air-drying our hands instead of drying them with towel or handkerchief because it may be contaminated, by using hand sanitizers always, by not shaking hands or hugging each other, by keeping away from people by some six feet, and by regularly cleaning door handles and rail surfaces with liquids containing up to 60% alcohol. It is reassuring that a lot of hotels, hospitals, offices and homes have been observing these rules. Churches, markets, motor parks, transport owners and operators have also joined in observing these rules”.

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