Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade, has said that there is no need for people to observe social distancing in preventing the spread of Coronavirus once they wear face masks.
Ayade, who disclosed this while addressing residents at the Peregrino Lodge (official residence of the governor) in Calabar, the state capital, explained that as professor of science, he understands the nature of the virus and how the human body natural fights against it.
The governor’s position is in contrast with the advice given by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organisation on the need for all to observe social distancing as an effective way of curtailing the spread of COVID-19.
Already the pandemic has killed about 90,000 persons and infected over 1.5 million individuals worldwide.
Although Cross River is yet to report on any case of infection or death from the virus, no fewer than 276 cases and six deaths have been confirmed by the NCDC in 17 states.
Lagos, Abuja and Osun have the highest number of confirmed cases with 145, 54 and 20, respectively.
Ayade, who spoke to the cheers of his supporters, said, “Because I’m a professor of science, I know how this virus moves. I know its aetiology. I know its transmissibility. I know its antigenicity. Because I do, I know that once you put on this mask, you already have been protected.
“You don’t need social distancing when you are properly protected because for mucal gland that secretes the mucus and the mucin has already formed a network of coats that, of course, attack the virus.”
Ayade has an Msc in Environmental Microbiology from the University of Ibadan and a doctorate from the Delta State University, Abraka, where he was appointed a professor.
As part of measures to combat the infectious disease in the state, he has set up a task force to enforce the compulsory wearing of face masks by citizens as a condition for free movement.