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Coronavirus: Quarantine attendees of Kyari’s burial, experts tell FG

Kyari’s burial - Health and Gist Blog in Nigeria

Medical experts in the country have asked the Federal Government to quarantine all persons who attended the burial of Mr Abba Kyari, the former Chief of Staff to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for public safety.

The experts pointed out that the gathering violated the ban on all forms of gathering in the Federal Capital Territory and government’s directive on social distancing, which were part of measures put in place by the government to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Kyari, who was the topmost public figure to have died of the coronavirus in Nigeria, tested positive for the disease about three weeks ago, after he had visited Germany, a high-risk country. The former Chief of Staff passed on at a private hospital in Lagos on Friday.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, in a thread of tweets on Saturday, said Kyari died of complications of the COVID-19 at the First Cardiologist Consultants hospital, a hospital he described as a Lagos State designated high care, biosecurity-compliant COVID-19 facility.

On Saturday, there were 49 new cases, pushing the total cases to 542, out of which 19 had died and 166 had been discharged.

But, at the Defence Guest House in Abuja where Kyari’s body was first received and the Gudu Cemetery, also in the FCT, where his remains were interred, there were scores of attendees, including top government functionaries, in violation of the ban on large gatherings and physical contacts imposed by the Federal Government.

But, speaking on the impact of the mass gathering at the burial in the midst of the rising spread of the COVID-19, medical experts said it would be in public interest for those at the funeral to be quarantined.

A renowned virologist, Prof Oyewale Tomori, who faulted the gathering of sympathisers at the burial, said even though there was no evidence that any of them had the virus, it would be better to place the attendees in isolation to be on the side of caution.

Tomori, a former President of the Nigerian Academy of Science, said, “I watched the burial and thought ‘this is wrong’. My focus would not be on the dead body but on the rules that we should maintain social distancing and not gather. So what did they take Funke Akindele (celebrity actress) to court for? And look at the number of people who were also in court with Akindele, they should have been taken to court.

“We don’t have any evidence that any of them at the burial has the virus but if they decide for safety sake to keep them in isolation, I think it is a right decision. It is better to err on the side of caution.

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