The Nigerian Medical Association has warned against looming outbreak of second wave of COVID-19 pandemic in the country in the light of the continued #EndSARS protests.
The NMA raised the alarm in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on Monday, during a press conference on the Physicians’ Week 2020 with the theme, ‘Strategies for Health System Recovery During COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.’
The state Chairman of NMA, Ayotunde Fatunla, who addressed journalists at the association’s secretariat, noted that the protesting youth had been on #EndSARS/ #EndPoliceBrutality rally for several days with flagrant disobedience to the COVID-19 protocols.
According to him, while the struggle is just, the development comes with attendant danger for the country as no nation or tribe is immune to COVID-19.
He said, “All over the country, there is a protest going on, #EndSARS or #EndPoliceBrutality by the Nigerian youth. For NMA, an injury to one is injury to all. We have seen the brutality meted on innocent Nigerians by SARS as well as some police whom, we would say, are not well cultured.
“They would not have their facts but they would see people carrying laptops on the road and just assume that the person is a criminal or must have been a thief for him to wear good cloth, carry laptop or use an exotic phone. I don’t think that is an offence.
“As doctors, knowing very well that COVID-19 is very well with us, during rallies like this, we know that gathering together could worsen the pandemic which we had worked tirelessly to bring down. We advise protesters that while trying to make their grievances known to government, they should as well observe the laid down protocols.”
Also, the President, NMA Prof. Innocent Ujah, said the association warned against the reopening of schools in the country, but nobody listened.
Ujah said the cases being recorded in some schools in the country would have been avoided if federal and states government had listened to the NMA’s advice.
“The issue of COVID-19 cases being recorded in schools; we all recalled that when the various governments wanted to reopen the schools, the NMA advised and cautioned them, but unfortunately, nobody listened to experts in this country.
“We know this from epistemological characterization that it was too early to reopen the schools; if we must reopen the schools, then we must be prepared. I remembered I read an article written by someone who said he is the president of the Parent-Teacher Association.
“He wrote to question why doctors advised against the reopening of schools. Today, we are recording cases in schools; it started with Gombe State where about seven students writing WAEC were infected. Now, we have over 181 reported cases in Lagos alone; we don’t know what is happening in other states which may not be reported.”