The Nigerian Medical Association, Cross River State branch, has warned the state government against the opening of religious activities.

The association also called for more testing of suspected persons in the state.

Governor Ben Ayade had announced the lifting of ban on religious gatherings after about two months due to COVID-19 outbreak.

Ayade said he made the decision after plea from religious leaders.

Reacting to the lifting of the ban, the medical association urged the state government to review its policy, saying the guideline for the reopening of worship centres goes against the social distance guideline.  Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade.

The group said, “Our concern is that the order stipulates the number of worshippers to be limited to the sitting capacity of the church/mosque.

“The usual sitting capacity of most worship centres does not allow for physical distancing of at least one metre that reduces the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

“We advise that this policy should be reviewed, taking into cognisance physical distancing and local peculiarities of various worship centres.”

Frowning against the low number of tests carried out in the state, the medical association said the Cross River State Government currently had no listed NCDC designated Molecular Laboratory Testing Centre in progress or completed on the NCDC Molecular Laboratory Network.

It added that the only available NCDC Laboratory catchment for Coronavirus testing for Cross River State is at Irrua, Edo State.

It added, “Irrua is about 447.9km (7h 50min) from Calabar when compared to Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, another testing centre that is 188.9km (3h 17min) from Calabar, which also shares a boundary with Cross River State.

“The present situation makes sample transportation very expensive and cumbersome occasioned by restrictions in interstate movement.

“We use this medium to call on NCDC to change the testing centre of Cross River State from Irrua to Abakaliki."

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