Covid-19: A Nocturnal Virus in Nigeria

by MCR Correspondent
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In order to cushion the economic effects, the lockdown issued by the president was relatively relaxed. It was announced in a national broadcast that effective from May 4, 2020, there will be unrestricted movements between 8am and 6pm, in all states, except Kano. This announcement makes Covid-19 look like a nocturnal pandemic.

Covid-19 is a life-threatening global pandemic. Every nation gives a pathetic narrative of the economic and social impacts of this pandemic.

Health sectors, government agencies, religious bodies, organizations, and individuals have contributed significantly to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Even health officials have battled the pandemic, risked their lives to save the lives of others.

Despite these joint efforts toward the fight of COVID-19, unprecedented deaths have shattered the world. Not only that, millions of people have been quarantined, and suspected cases are traced and isolated to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

While efforts are still being intensified by health organizations and governments of various countries to find an efficacious cure for coronavirus, social distancing and adherence to preventive measures are being enforced to protect citizens against the pandemic.

Nigeria is not an exception. As of Tuesday April 28, 2020, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, the country had recorded 1,337 cases. While 255 recoveries were reported, the number of deaths was 40.

Lagos State, the epicenter of coronavirus in the country, houses over 20 million people. The population has largely contributed to the exponential increase in the number of cases it battles. While Lagos State confirms 764 cases, the federal territory has a record of 157 cases. Of course, this is not peculiar to Nigeria. Many African countries have same narrative to tell about the pandemic.

Preventive measures

As part of efforts to curtail the pandemic, countries introduced preventive measures ranging from social distancing, adherence to personal hygiene and total lockdowns.

I must sincerely commend the proactive steps taken by President Mohammodu Buhari and the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu for locking down the states with higher number of cases. However, the actions of both the federal and state governments are not without some Achilles heels.

Although the president acted belatedly, it could not be established that the initial 14-day lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States which was announced on March 30, 2020, was effective.

Following the increasing rates of the pandemic, especially in Lagos, the president was compelled to announce an additional lockdown in a televised broadcast on Monday April 13, 2020.

It is a matter of life. And no sane leader will expose their citizens to danger. With support from organizations, international bodies and individuals, necessary equipment and health facilities were procured to fight the coronavirus.

Considering the extent the series of lockdowns had impacted the country’s economy, the president was compelled to relax his order. He acknowledged in another televised national broadcast on Monday April 27, 2020, that Nigerians are feeling the economic realities of the lockdown. He noted that, “Businesses could no longer remain closed while Nigerians are hungry at home.”

In order to cushion the economic effects, the lockdown issued by the president was relatively relaxed. It was announced in a national broadcast that effective from May 4, 2020, there will be unrestricted movements between 8am and 6pm, in all states, except Kano. This announcement makes Covid-19 look like a nocturnal pandemic.

Another fault with the new order is its effectiveness in Lagos where many residents cannot afford to leave for their offices and businesses later than 5am in order to the excruciating traffic snarl in the state. What measures have been put in place by the government to ensure that those who close at work around 4pm get to their destinations before 6pm.

The federal and state governments need to design measures to decongest major cities to prevent a dreadful disaster. Besides, the use of face masks must be enforced. And lastly, law enforcement agents must ensure that Nigerians do not leverage this relaxation to violation social distancing order.

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