Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Monday said the Federal Government could reinstate the lockdown if the guidelines set down by the government were not adhered to and if the government observes a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases.
The NCDC DG who made this declaration while speaking on the adherence to the guidelines stated that some of the measures are being eased. Initial reports are not too pleasing across the country.
Now that we have seen the sunlight again, the challenge for us as a society is, how do we organize ourselves to mitigate these risks and limit transmissions from each other?
National Sportslink recalls that President Muhammadu Buhari on March 30, 2020, ordered a two-week lockdown on Abuja, Lagos, and the Ogun States, and gave an extra two-week extension to the lockdown after its expiration on April 13.
The president, during a public address, said that the government would gradually ease the lockdown order, imposing a curfew from 8 pm to 6 am, with a total lockdown ordered in Kano State that had seen a spike in the number of coronavirus cases.
According to him, “Though we might have a few extra infections today and tomorrow, what we don’t want is an explosion of new infections? If we do have that explosion, there will be almost no choice left for the leadership of the country but to ask all of us to go back to our homes.”
He added, “When we say take responsibility this time, yes, we are addressing individuals, but we really need to address corporate Nigeria. There is the benefit of the doubt, but when you limit the number of branches opened, everyone goes to the one branch that is opened and that becomes counterproductive.
“Today, we might forgive a little bit because it was the first day. We will have infections because of what happened today, no doubt about that. Everybody here (on the PTF) knew today would be a problem because, for the first time, people were let out of their homes.
“We can produce all the guidelines in the world. We can preach and do press conferences, but how can we learn from the mistakes of today, tomorrow, and the day after, so that, by Friday, hopefully, we have normalized some of these things?”
While answering questions from journalists, Chikwe said that the government’s decision to open markets and not churches and mosques and other places of worship was due to the fact that “food is an existential issue.”
“We are not even saying we are happy with the markets across the country. But we are really still appealing to everyone in those markets to help us make it (curb in transmission) work.
“We know that many of our markets were not built for an era of COVID-19. We’re sure about that. Our markets are historically very congested places with many ports of entry, very difficult to control access; in fact, a perfect place for transmission.
“So, by no means are we saying the marketplaces are the examples of perfect locations for managing transmission. We have to allow markets to continue because people have to eat.”