Lockdown: Is Nigeria Set for a COVID-Ready Society? By Ya’u Mukhtar
AREWA AGENDA – Ever since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus infection which emanated from Wuhan, a city in Hubei province of China and subsequently leading to the current pandemic, the disease has been spreading fast across various nations of the world.
As at March 11th, 2020 the number of countries involved with the infection hit 114, with more than 118,000 cases and over 4000 deaths. This prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) through its Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to declare the disease a Global pandemic. Currently the world is facing dark moments that has not been witnessed by humanity since the Spanish Influenza which occurred between 1918-1920.
As of 11th June, 2020, the total contaminated cases in Nigeria hit 13,873 (out of which 9,140 are still active) while 4,351 has been discharged with 382 deaths. On account of that, governments are warning people, especially those at high risk to be particularly stringent in observing social distancing measures, wearing face masks and in some cases enforcing total or partial lockdown protocol more so because if victims become ill, they are more likely to need critical care including ventilation, and may even leads to death.
Currently there is no special vaccine for this virus yet and only supportive therapy is the treatment strategy followed by health professionals. This includes administration of antipyretic and analgesic, maintenance of hydration, mechanical ventilation as respiratory support and uses of antibiotics on the patients.
However, researchers claims that; it is possible that some people can even counteract the virus thereby becoming infected and subsequently get recuperated automatically without any medical intervention due to their strong body’s immune system.
According to an unpublished data pulled out from a recent survey study conducted in Madobi town, Kano state to assess the recurrent prevalence of possible novel coronavirus symptoms among the inhabitants during the period of April to May, it was found out that 96% out of the 50 respondents interviewed have suffered from one or more common COVID-19 symptoms (i.e. fever, headache, cough, loss of smell, loss of taste, fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and shortness of breath) including catarrh/common cold. Interestingly, 87.5% recoveries of these cases were reported mostly without even medication.
The global spread of this virus is imposing new rules to our life, our relations and our activities. As a result of the ravaging coronavirus pandemic, most countries across the world are in total or partial lockdowns so as to prevent its transmission leading to the ban of religious gatherings, while markets, schools, restaurants, hotels, companies, malls and host other businesses remain closed.
This lockdown protocol which is without reasonable success is inflicting countless damage on populace especially those in developing and undeveloped countries, because there has been halt on socio-economic, cultural and political activities. This behoves me to ask this question; is the government really on a right track regarding imposition of this lingering lockdowns protocol?
Unfortunately, upon all these measures put in place, the novel virus continues to spread with no sign of stoppage in a near future and it seem that the virus is going to be with us for the foreseeable future and nobody wants to continue having lockdowns as we have at the moment.
Because this unending lockdown may do more harm than good as a result of its effect to the people and economies of nation at large. Sequel to that, a number of countries including China, Iran, Spain, Denmark, Portugal, South Africa, Ghana, et al eased their lockdowns and in most cases have since resumed their normal activities while a host of others are on the process of developing guidelines and protocols of following the same suit.
Recently, there was a call by Dr. David Nabarro, the Special Envoy to World Health Organization and its Director-General on COVID-19 in which he opined that government should prepare a COVID-Ready society in which people will learn to live with the virus instead of this unending lockdown as a preventive measure having produced no vaccine or cure for the virus. It is obvious that, the Envoy has no doubt spoken the minds of millions of people round the globe.
According to him, establishing a COVID-Ready state requires the full and willing participation of people, a high level organization within communities, public health services as well as COVID-Ready hospitals and other health care facilities. Additionally, COVID-19 tracing, containment and neighborhood health watch will be necessary even when the present wave of outbreak is gone.
Although younger people appear generally at lower risk, for now, everyone must adhere to government restrictions to protect the millions of people at higher risk due to age or serious comorbidities (history of underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases, cancer, kidney or liver diseases etc.).
Nevertheless, it is hope that the governments as a matter of urgency will review its guidelines and protocols towards containment of this pandemic so that the world can quickly regain back its fitness and continue to enjoy unending peace. Lastly, more testing centers especially in remote areas should be established and mode of contact tracing be enhanced as this will greatly facilitate and expedite the fight against this devilish novel virus so as to finally lay it to rest. Obviously the various will be around for longer than expected, is Nigeria preparing for that?
Ya’u MUKHTAR writes from Madobi, Kano State.
Arewa Agenda is a Publication of young writers from Northern Nigeria towards peaceful coexistence and national development through positive narratives.