By Suleiman Umaru
For the first time, the world has been united against one common enemy: Coronavirus. The deadly virus in the last four months had claimed thousands of lives in the Asian country of China and the European country of Italy including the Middle East country of Iran. It had also claimed hundreds of lives in Spain and New Zealand as several other countries had witnessed index cases including Russia.
As a prelude to curbing the spread of the virus in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari , was said to have ordered the shutdown of three International Airports across the country . That much was confirmed by Musa Nuhu, the Director General, Civil Aviation Authority, CAA. The affected International Airports that were said to have been shutdown, according to the CAA, boss, are the busy , Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, Kano state a, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, Enugu state, and PortHarcourt International Airport, Omagwa, Rivers state. The Presidential directive is expected to come into effect on Saturday, March 21, 2020.
Aviation experts had expected the Katsina state born Nigerian President to have equally shut down the Nnamdi Azikiwe , International Airport, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.
This is because of the several international flights that land at these Airports daily with passengers from different parts of the world. Recall that the first COVID 19, index case that was witnessed in the country which had raised people’s consciousness about the virus was an Italian who few into the country Miami, a town in his home country, Italy.
In spite of the surveillance that was said to have been mounted at the country International Airports to identify Coronavirus carrier, the Italian still found his way to a Company at Ewekro in Ogun state to conduct his transactions until the information leaked out that he was a carrier of the deadly virus.
He was said to have been traced to have been traced to the Ewekro based Company and and other plocations cited in the state andquickly taken to an Isolation center at Yaba, Lagos, for medical attention.Perhaps, both for the quick intervention of officials of the Federal, Lagos and the Ogun state government o to locate the Italian when the information became a public knowledge, the country may have been in a sorry state now like other Corovirus infested countries in Asian and Europe.
Aware that the virus, which originated from Wuhan, Hebei Province of China, had become pandemic, officials of the ministry of Health, at Federal and state levels moved to locate the passengers who were said to have come in contact with the Italian during their flight to Lagos, and the Companies visited for his business dealings in Lagos and Ogun states.
They were said to have been rounded up and quarantined. In Ogun state alone, 208 persons, were said to have been quarantined but no death had been recorded so far. This may have forced the government to take the extreme actions of shutting down flight operations in three International airports across the country .
Even though the government had said that there would be ‘’no flight operations from the Coronavirus, popular, COVID 19, high risk countries like China, Italy, Spain and Iran, into the Nnnamdi Azikiwe or MMIIA, which were not affected by the government policy, for now, not many Nigerians are satisfied with the action as the sickness had been exported to over 90 countries going by the World Health Organisation, WHO, records.
Countries are adapting and moving fast to stop the spread of the sickness. Taking a cue form the British government, Adamu Adamu, the minister of Education on the orders of he Katsina state born Nigrian President was said to have closed all tertiary Institutions in and 104 Unity schools in the country.
The south western state governors of Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo, Oyo and Osun appear to have also taken the bold initiative to stop the spread of the sickness in the region. Sanwo –Olu, the governor of Lagos state, who, is not taking anything to chances was said to held several meetings of their members in a place for Worship and Prayers. Other south west governors are expected to follow suit to avoid the penetration of religious groups by the Coronavirus carriers
Note that the Lagos state government had banned the gathering of morethan 50 persons in Churches , Muslim Jumaát Prayers or Marriage Ceremonies. The state government had also ordered the closure of nightclubs, bars and social gatherings, described as veritable sources of spreading the sickness.
The Lagos state governor, for instance, believes that the closure of these social gatherings would curb the spread of the sickness in the country. At present there are about 11 confirmed Coronavirus cases in the state alone.
Abdullahi Sule, governor of Nasarawa state and Abubakar Bello, his Counterpart in Kogi state were said to have also ordered the closure of all public schools in their respective states in view of the outbreak of the Coronavirus which had become pandemic.
El-rufai, the no nonsense governor of Kaduna state may have taken the extreme action as he was said to have advised Imams not to hold Jumaát services until further notice as part of efforts to restrict religious services and large gatherings in the state to forestall the spread of the sickness.
TheKaduna governor noted that in many Muslim – majority countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirate, UAE, members of the Muslim Faith had been advised to pray at home and not Congregate as it is the practice in abnormal times.
He did spare the churches as well. Muyiwa Adekeye, Chief Press Secretary to the governor, disclosed that the ban on religious gatherings in the state also extend to the Churches.
Appealing to the Church leaders to suspend all religious gathering for now, Adekeye also wants the Christian leaders to draw from the experience of the many Christian majority countries like Italy, France, Spain and Germany. He may have spoken the mind of the governor when he said the Churches should limit their gatherings o 10 persons.
There are indications that other state governors who are yet to take action against the spread of the sickness in their respective states may have been given reason to do so by the West African Examination Council, WAEC, . This is because the West African Examination body had postponed indefinitely the 2020 Senior School Certificate Examination, SSCE.
A Statement by Patrick Areghan ,Head of WAEC National office, said the Examination which was scheduled to begin on April 6, 2020, was postponed as a ‘’result of Coronavirus pandemic’’. The WAEC official disclosed that the’’ timetable for the examinations would be reviewed after the Coronavirus pandemic situation had improved. This is a big disappointment for the students who had read wide and prepared for the examinations.
Meanwhile,Osagie Ehamire, the minister of Health, who had been up and doing since the outbreak of the deadly disease,had said the government is walking round the clock to increase the beds in the Isolation centers in Lagos and Abuja. The minister disclosed of plans to develop more Isolation centers in the country to accommodate those that might be identified with the ailment across the country.
Worried that Pharmacists and scientists have not been able to produce the Vaccines to cure the sickness which had put the world in a mess, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has approved the production of Chloroquine for clinical trials in tackling the COVID 19.
Adesola Adeyeye, a Professor, and Directror General of the agency had said that it had not approved Chloroquine as a Treatment for the Coronavirus but for ‘’Clinical trials to find a treatment for the virus’’. The Professor noted that Chloroquine is superior to Placebo.
She may have approved the production of the drug because it is within her powers as the Director General of the agency to do so for Clinical trials. The NAFDAC, boss said that Pharmaceutical Companies in the country had been given approval to produce the drug in batches.
Appealing to Scientists, Medical experts and Researchers, that are interested in carrying out the Clinical trial on Chloroquine to approach approved outlets, she warned that ‘’nobody should use the anti – Malaria dru” because of the resistance that hds been proven to develop in the past after the use of the drug.