By Chioma Obinna
The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA on Saturday, lends its weight to the Federal Government’s COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021, calling for full enforcement of the law.
In a chat with Vanguard, the President of the NMA, Prof Innocent Ujah said while the country awaits the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine sometime in February, it is necessary for the country to focus more on what it has control over.
It could be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had Wednesday in Abuja signed a new law prescribing a six-month jail term for persons convicted for disobeying any COVID-19 guideline. The law provides a basis for the prosecution of defaulters.
Commenting on the law, the President of the NMA who applauded the passage of the law insisted that the law must be obeyed to ensure that the spread of the virus is contained.
According to him, every law must be obeyed. Simple things like hand washing, wearing of facemasks, and maintaining physical distances should be observed by Nigerians.
On defaulters, he said persons or individuals who disobeyed the law should be punished.
“While we wait for vaccines arrival, we should be talking about things we have control over like the non-pharmaceutical guidelines and not things we do not have control over. We should be talking to our government to ensure that we procure these vaccines and also ensure that awareness about the virus is created among our people and again, full implementation of the law is necessary,” he added.
The COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021, Quarantine act, section 34 of the new law states that any offence under the regulations is punishable by a fine or a term of six months imprisonment or both.
The law also covers the maintenance of physical distance in gatherings, while all persons in such public places must, among other things, wear face masks, wash their hands, and have their temperature checked before entering such venues.
The law restricts gathering of more than 50 persons in an enclosed space “except for religious purposes, in which case the gathering shall not exceed 50 per cent capacity of the space. It also mandates institutions such as schools, banks, and worship centres to enforce existing guidelines to slow the spread of the coronavirus.