From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Government has re-emphasised the need for people living and doing business in the State to be aware of the key facts on how to prevent contacting the Coronavirus.
As an awareness against the Coronavirus pandemic in Rivers State, the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, said it is better to prevent occurence of the virus that to contract and seek majors for treatment.
Pastor Nsirim who on a sideline of a gathering of Chairmen and Secretaries of Community Development Committees (CDCs) of communities in all the twenty-three Local Government Areas of the State, held in Port Harcourt, noted the need to educate the people and how to prevent contacting the Coronavirus.
The Commissioner, who is the Chairman of the recently appointed 5-man committee made up of Commisssioners to carry out an aggressive campeign on awareness creation on Coronavirus, noted that it is in accordance with Governor Nyesom Wike’s quest to ensure that Rivers State remains Coronavirus free.
“His Excellency’s government is responsive. With what is happening around the world (over Coronavirus), the Rivers State Executive Council felt strongly that there would be need to sensitise all those living and doing business in Rivers State, because health care delivery is one of governance that His Excellency has placed premium on, ” he said.
He continued that “What is happening around the world is frightening, and because our state is a commercial centre: we have an international airport, we have seaport, and because of the economic hub that we are, human traffic into Rivers State, into Port Harcourt, from all parts of the world, we can’t control them.
“So, what do we do? Like we say, prevention is better than cure. That’s why the Rivers State Executive Council set up this committee that I’m chairing to engage stakeholder groups like you to pass relevant information as to how we, as a people, could protect ourselves, families, neighbours, and our communities”, he stated.
Speaking also on the preventive measures to be taken, the Director, Public Health, Disease and Control, Rivers State Ministry of Health, Dr Golden Owhondah, said the measures needs to be strictly adhered to considering that the State practices communal existence.
According to Dr Owhondah, the key ways of preventing contacting the Coronavirus is to indulge in frequent washing of hands, using disposable towels when coughing or sneezing, and keeping 1.5 meters distance away from anyone coughing or sneezing.
He explained that from indications “it is when you touch secretions, may be not COVID, but something that can be retransmitted” that one can easily contact the virus. Consequently, “it’s very important to wash your hands”.
While washing of the hands should be done regularly, he stated that it must be done with running water, not water in a bowl, and with soap.
“Make sure the tap around you is running, and you wash your hands with soap. After washing your hands, we have to stop the era of using handkarchief and towels to clean our hands and put it back into our pockets. Use disposable towels. After washing your hands, clean your hands with disposable towels and dispose of it appropriately. Don’t keep it where children can pick it up”, he said.
In the absence of water, Dr Owhondah said a hand sanitizer should be used.
On coughing and sneezing, which, he said, are normal physiological symptoms from time to time, he advised persons who have it to stay awhile at home, or wear mask if one must go to what he called a “Colgate setting”.
“If it is sudden, and you want to cough, simply put your hand across your face and sneeze (or cough) into the sleeve, or on your shoulder, if you’re wearing a short sleeve. If the virus gets on the fabric, it will die shortly.
“This virus is very environmentally unstable. It is liquid coat in its surface, just like butter. After a while, if it’s exposed on the surface, it dies”, he said.
He continued that “The third and very important thing is social distance. It’s time to relearn some of the social engineering that we were born with. So, I’ll advise everybody to keep 1.5 metres distence from anybody you see coughing or sneezing. Try as much as possible. It’s not only by handshake that you can greet. You can nod, smile, wave (your hands), as far as you can avoid to shake hands”.