Nigeria: COVID-19 - Abia Residents React to Compulsory Wearing of Face Masks Order

Nigerians with face masks

Mixed reactions have trailed the Abia Government's directive on compulsory wearing of face masks by residents and visitors to the state to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on Tuesday announced the compulsory wearing of face masks, among other precautionary measures against the spread of the virus in the state.

While some commended the state government for the initiative which took effect on Wednesday, others dismissed it, saying that it would be counter-productive.

Nkem Uche of the Grace Methodist Church, World Bank Housing Estate, Umuahia, lauded the governor over the order while describing it as a step in the right direction.

"Wearing of face mask by residents is very important. It is for personal protection and prevents the spread of the coronavirus and other related ailments. It is for our own safety.

"As you can see, I wear mine as I talk to you, just as you wear yours too. That way, it won't let my spit touch you as I talk to you or yours touch me.

"What I don't like is the total reopening of markets and other public places that I heard the government is planning to do after this lockdown.

"I suggest that those places should be opened partially, maybe by weekend, after which the lockdown is continued for the rest of the week," he said.

Tochi Igbokwe, a nurse at a private clinic in Umuahia, urged the residents to comply with the order, saying that government was only making efforts to curb the spread of the pandemic.

"Many people still don't believe that the COVID-19 is real. I have heard many argue that it is a scam, but as a health professional, I advise people to take any issue concerning their health seriously.

"We thank God we have not recorded any case in Abia, but that should not mean that we should ignore some confirmed preventive tips," she said.

Ifeanyi Okoro, a fashion designer on Warri Street, Umuahia, dismissed the order and expressed disappointment over the ongoing lockdown in the state.

"The disease is not in Abia yet, so why are they forcing us to wear face masks.

"We have been on lockdown for more than two weeks without food and now they have come up with the compulsory wearing of face masks.

"I can't wear it until I confirm that it has killed somebody in Abia. Lagos has confirmed cases, so they can make it compulsory for the residents over there," he said.

Also, Michael Igwe, a youth, said he would never wear the face mask no matter the enforcement.

"I heard that face mask is worn by patients and those attending to them, especially the health workers. Besides, it is a serious inconvenience to me," he said. (NAN)

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