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21 Mar 2020

Nigerian States Ban Handshake As Mode Of Greeting

Handshake the age-long way of exchanging greetings has been outlawed in Taraba State while residents of Imo State have tactically withdrawn the practice in public places as part of measures to check the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Investigation conducted by our correspondent in Imo State revealed that precautionary measures against the virus are also noticeable in the hospitality industry as proprietors and managers of hotels in the state had introduced wash-hand basins with chemicals and disinfectants, compelling visitors to wash their hands before stepping into their premises.

The Chairman, Hoteliers Association of Nigeria, Imo State branch, Chima Chukwunyere, said they adopted the measure to protect themselves and their customers from contracting the virus.

He said although there was no recorded case in the state, the association took it upon itself to protect their business, noting that since the outbreak of coronavirus in the country, the state government had done nothing to create awareness on the preventive measures against the deadly disease in the hospitality industry.

Chukwunyere, who is also the Chief Executive officer of Domino Hotels, told The Nation that the government had not addressed the hospitality industry on how to handle the virus.

He said: “I am shocked and surprised that the state government has not called and addressed us on what to do when emergency situation arises.

“Even though the government has not appointed a health commissioner, there is a permanent secretary in the ministry of health to execute government policies.”

The chairman said the hospitality industry being second largest employer of labour in the state and being a place where human contacts are made, should work with the government to monitor the situation.

Also, some churches in the state have suspended handshakes by their members during service.

Investigation showed that the Anglican Church has stopped administering the holy wine to her members with one chalice.

In the public and private hospitals, doctors and other medical personnel apply rubber gloves with their mouths and noses covered with treated cloths to avert contraction.

Speaking to our correspondent, the state Chairman,  Christians Association of Nigeria(CAN), Dr. G. Ibeji said that all their members in the state would adhere strictly wto the CAN President, Samson Ayokunle’s directive.

The CAN President has directed churches in the country to conduct services online or use house cell based service.

It also asked the churches to observe March 22 and March 29 as days of prayers against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Nigeria and globally.

The state governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, has constituted a nine-member Committee on prevention of coronavirus disease (COVI-19) with former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Maurice Iwu, as the chairman.

Other members include Dr. Okeji Austin of the Ministry of Healthas the secretary; Dr. Kingsley Achigbu of the Federal Medical Centre; Dr. Uduji Uchenna of Imo Specialist Hospital; Dr. Duru Chukwuma JP of Imo State University Teaching Hospital (IMSUTH); Prof. Isaiah Ibe of the Medical Laboratory, University of Benin; Miss Nkem Chimeze Ijere; Dr. Chimezie Iwuala and   Dr. Kyrian Duruewuru, Chairman NM, Imo Chapter.

In Taraba State, Governor Darius Ishaku, who returned to Jalingo, the Taraba State capital on Thursday after 87 days of medical sojourn in Abuja, has banned handshakes and restricted “unnecessary movements.”

Fielding questions from newsmen, Ishaku called on the federal government to station a Testing Centre in Taraba State.

He added that while awaiting equipment, the state government will sensitise the people about the pandemic and its preventive measures.

The governor said: “The first thing is no handshakes (although, I have not kept to the rules). If you see anybody, greet them like the Indians do, with no handshakes.

“So, we shall start with avoidance of contact.

“At a Governor’s Forum, we (governors) agreed that the federal government should help us station a testing centre in each of the states. And the minister enlightened us on getting the equipments, and we asked for the cost to see whether it is not too much for us to bear.

“Already, we have a dedicated hospital to infectious diseases in Taraba State, at Lankaviri. Patients with infectious diseases are kept there.

“So, what Taraba State needs are testing equipments, because for now, if someone has the health problem, the blood sample has to be taken all the way to Lagos before the result is brought back to the state.”

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