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Traditionalists Marking Egungun Festival Shun Face Mask, Social Distancing In Oyo

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Traditionalists in the Ogbomoso area of Oyo State shunned COVID-19 protocols on Saturday as they celebrated the annual outing of an ancient masquerade known as Ajómágbodó.

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According to the worshippers in a Facebook Live by BBC Yoruba, Ajómágbodó masquerade is known to sit down while being prayed for. However, it sits on air, hence the name ‘Ajómágbodó,’ meaning, “he who does not sit on mortar.”

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In the live coverage, the worshippers were seen flocking around the masquerade who is covered and adorned with different colours of clothes.

The crowd that throng the event mingle freely without wearing face masks, nor did they maintain any form of social distancing as they move from one area of the town to another.

The worshippers are accompanied by drummers who serenade them with cultural tunes as they move joyfully around Ogbomoso town.

The disregard for COVID-19 protocols has been particularly concerning in the last few weeks, with the detection of the lethal Delta variant in Nigeria.

The PUNCH had earlier reported that with the detection of the Delta COVID-19 variant in Nigeria, experts warned against a fresh lockdown, stating that imposing a new lockdown would have devastating impacts on the economy.

The experts spoke against the background of a third wave of COVID-19 with the steady rise in positive cases in the last few weeks and the discovery of a new variant of the virus in Nigeria.

The deadly Delta variant is recognised by the World Health Organisation as a variant of concern, given its increased transmissibility.

The variant has been detected in over 90 countries and is expected to spread to more countries, according to the NCDC.

Nigeria has so far recorded over 177,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 2,100 associated deaths since the index case of the virus was reported in the country in March 2020, according to statistics by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. Oyo State in particularly has recorded over 7,300 infections with about 140 fatalities.

With the number of cases and fatalities on the rise, the NCDC continues to urge Nigerians to maintain social distancing and hygiene practices as well as use masks in public to prevent transmission of the lethal virus which has been identified to move through droplets.

PUNCH

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