Nigerians May Experience Another Lockdown If COVID-19 Infection Explodes – NCDC
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said the Federal Government may be compelled to reimpose a total lockdown if there is an explosion of confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of the NCDC, stated this in reaction to occurrences on the first day of easing of the lockdown order by the Federal Government at the daily press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja on Monday.
Economic activities resumed on Monday in Lagos and Ogun states, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) after a five-week lockdown imposed on by the Federal Government to curb the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
However, Ihekweazu said the reports the PTF got on Monday regarding compliance with safety directives such as social distancing in the three locations was unimpressive.
“Initial reports are not too pleasing across the country.
“So there’s only so much we can do. We can produce all the guidelines in the world, we can preach, hold press conferences, but if organisations are not going to support the implementation of these measures and help us manage the risk . . . how do we want to manage and mitigate the risk of exposure, the risk of transmission?” Ihekweazu asked.
Although admitting that the first day of the lockdown relaxation would be a problem, the NCDC boss private organisations, especially banks, would have to step up and ensure effective implementation of all stated health guidelines in order to prevent a wave of new infections.
He stated that the occurrences on Monday will inevitably result in more COVID-19 infections, but urged all Nigerians to learn from it or return to a total lockdown.
Ihekweazu said: “Yes, we knew today would be a problem. Everybody here knew today would be a problem because for the first time people were let out of their homes.
“But now that we have seen the sunlight again, the challenge for us as a society is how do we now organise ourselves to mitigate this risk, to limit transmission.
“Yes, we might have a few extra transmission today and tomorrow, but what we don’t want is an explosion of new infections. If we do have that new explosion, there would be almost no choice for the leadership of the country than to ask everybody to go back into our homes.”
Speaking earlier, Boss Mustapha, Chairman of the PTF on COVID-19, described the scenes at banks, transport parks and other places in the three aforementioned locations as unsatisfactory.
Mustapha, who doubles as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), warned that the danger of infection was not over and that individual actions would contribute to the success or failure of the measures.
He urged banks to ensure that their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and online banking systems were in good order and stocked regularly to avoid convergence of customers in their premises.
He also advised Nigerians to minimise the risks of getting infected while trying to transact businesses in the banks.