Onyekwelu said although there were real fears among health workers over COVID-19, the association had met with the state government to design case definition for the virus and also preventive measures in the management of possible cases.

The NMA also said it had not received any report of doctors who were relieved of their duty but pointed out that some institutions might decide to streamline their staff strength in the wake of the crisis.

“It is true that there is real fear among doctors but there is no record of any patient who was turned back in the state.

“NMA members have met with the state government to develop case definition, this will reduce the fear among practitioners.

”We have also said that every hospital should have one or two room isolation point where patients are kept to reduce the contact area,” he said.

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Onyekwelu, who is the state Vice Chairman of NMA, said that part of the recommendations was that all health facilities in the state should have one central entrance where every patient would wash their hands, get sanitised and tested with non-contact thermometer.

Also speaking, Mr George Udeozor, Chairman of Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU), Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH), said his members were getting protective equipment.

Udeozor said his union members had neither deserted their duty posts out of fear nor been laid off by management, adding that their services were most needed at this time of COVID-19 pandemic.

He, however, said that the training of staff members in Patient Handling and Personal Protection going on at the hospital had not gone across the various departments, hence not all workers had benefited.

He further said that Pharmacists were not getting the protective devices which might be because of the assumption that they did not have direct contact with patients.

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According to him, all workers in the hospital are equally exposed and management has been doing its best to protect the staff within the means available to it.

“I can tell you that as at today, nobody has abandoned his post and nobody has been laid off, patients are getting the attention they require, generally the atmosphere in COOUTH is calm.

“But there is real fear among us, that is why we are calling for the training of every staff, that every staff should be getting his hand gloves and face masks to prevent pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic contagions,” he said.

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