•Chief Sanjay Jain
By Moses Nosike
Despite global Covid—19 surge, the Indians in Nigeria have been able to keep their heads above troubling waters, undertaking projects that are commercial and at the same time humanitarian in various natures. The president, Indian Cultural Association, Chief Sanjay Jain tells us more in this brief interview, how Indians in Nigeria, under the aegies of The Indian Cultural Association, have taken up the challenges of the pandemic period.
The Indian community in Nigeria doesn’t seem affected that much by Covid-19?
Covid—19 has affected the world, and though the world has accepted it as a part of the new normal, we need to understand that this deadly pandemic still prevails, and the number of cases and deaths are increasing rapidly. Although we mustn’t create a panic situation, we need to take proper precautionary measures to keep our family and ourselves safe. We need to be safety and care conscious. And practice washing of hands and use face mask.
That means you believe the virus is still out there spreading?
Yes. Generally, corona virus spreads from person to person. If an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, droplets or tiny particles called aerosols carry the virus into the air from their nose or mouth. However, there is another way through which it can spread, which is known as an asymptomatic spread. People who don’t show any signs can get infected as this infection takes a while to show its symptoms, which makes its quite dangerous. Therefore, proper precautionary measures have to still be taken.
But people criticize the use of mask?
The transmitter of corona virus is the mouth and nose, therefore it is important to cover your mouth with mask whenever you step out of the house. The mask will help to protect against possible transmission of the virus.
The two types of masks that should be used are either N95 respirators or surgical masks. N95 respirators mask helps in filtering out nearly 95% of particles from the air, and hence provides the utmost protection against the harmful virus, while surgical masks: A surgical mask normally covers the nose, mouth and the chin. It restricts the suspension of particles into the surrounding area.
Whenever you use a mask, proper measures should be taken while using it as well as disposing of it. When you remove your mask clean your hands with an alcohol-based solution or soap.
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A mask should cover your nose, mouth, and chin properly. Also, don’t touch your mask while wearing and removing it. All masks are not re-useable, and if you are using a disposable one discard it after one use. To dispose of a mask, throw it in a covered waste bin and wash your hands thoroughly.
How about the use of sanitizers, is that also still needed?
Yes, whenever you step outside your house, ensure that you sanitize your hands or wash your hands properly when your return. In case you have a visitor at your place, ensure that they also wash their hands before touching anything.
Washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 30 seconds is necessary, especially after going to the toilet; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose.
If soap and water are not immediately available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that people should use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that comprises at least 70 percent alcohol (also referred to as ethanol or ethyl alcohol).
Are these the steps that reduced the spread of the virus among the Indian community?
Exactly! We had to enlighten each of our members on these steps and also the importance of social-distancing of at least 6 feet when you step outside your house. It is always advisable to maintain a safe distance between two people whenever one goes out, avoiding crowded places if possible. If it is very urgent to go to a crowded place, it is appropriate to take bath on return. That’s what we Indians do now.
We also take other precautions such as staying indoors except where there is an emergency, we have avoided travelling where possible, we maintain personal sanitation, wash our hands frequently with soap and water, and we endeavour as much as possible, not to touch the eyes, nose, and mouth.
It is always good to remain vigilant on your own health status. We have also advised ourselves that if anyone feels any symptoms like fever, difficulty in breathing, coughing and so on, such person should immediately consult a doctor or get in touch with NCDC for testing.
Does that mean that your community has been quiet all these while?
No, the Indian Cultural Association, on behalf of the entire Indian Community of Lagos, Nigeria has implemented several projects in the course of these difficult times of the Pandemic. We have had distribution of food packets to about 37,000 people, distribution of face masks to the less privileged homes. We have had installation of ‘no touch handwashing machines at several points.
We have initiated campaign ‘no mask, no enter!” with posters for various establishments. We have also made provision of oxygen cylinders for emergency situations, awareness campaign on mindful eating and others in the times of Pandemic and creating awareness programs on how to keep good health in the times of Pandemic among others.