Ben Ayade, governor of Cross River, says there is no need for social distancing as long as people put on face masks.
In a video circulated on social media, Ayade said the use of face masks automatically protects people from getting infected with COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by coronavirus.
“Because I’m a professor of science and I know how this virus moves; I know its etiology, I know it transmissibility, I know its antigenicity; because I do, I know that once you put on this mask, you have already been protected,” he said.
“You don’t need social distancing when you are properly protected because your mucal glands that secrets the mucus and the musins already forms a network of coats to attack the virus.”
Ayade’s assertion comes days after he had ordered security agencies in the state to arrest anyone who moves about without the use of face mask.
The governor’s claim has further ignited debate on whether people should use face masks in public places to prevent spread of the virus or just maintain social distancing.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had urged people to wear face masks when visiting places like pharmacies and grocery stores.
The CDC said such measure could halt the spread of the novel disease in such places where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
The World Health Organization (WHO), however, warned that while face masks may help curb the spread of the novel disease, they were insufficient on their own.
Nigeria currently has 276 confirmed cases while Cross River is yet to record any case of COVID-19 — as of the time this report was filed.