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Fear of COVID 19 explosion As Ihekweazu, DG, NCDC, Gives Signal Of Another Lock Down Extension In Lagos, Abuja and Ogun

By Stephen Ubanna

The failure of Nigerians to keep to the six feet  social distancing measure  in the phased easing of the lock down in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve center, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT and Ogun and  may force President Muhammadu Buhari to  extend the ongoing lock down .

This is because of the cluster that were said to have been  experienced at the few  Money Deposit Banks , MDBs, branches that were opened  across the country on Monday , May 4, 2020 which Boss Mustapha, Chairman, Presidential Task Force on COVID 19 and Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General, Nigerian Center For Disease Control, NCDC, did not find funny.

 The duo who had the support of Osagie Ehanire, the minister of Health had given the Katsina born Nigerian President the facts about the Wuhan town in Hebei province of the Asian country emerged disease in the country and the need to start a phased easing of the lock down in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun, which informed  his  decision to bow to pressure of the  state governors to do so.

Feelers from the COVID 19 and the NCDC offices at the FCT indicates  that the officials of the Presidential Task Force and the health agency  are afraid that there might  be  an explosion  of the disease in the next few weeks  if the situation is not handled with caution.

This is evident going by the overnight night infection on the first day of asking the residents of Lagos, FCT and Ogun, to come out from their homes, which had been like prison in the last one month to  breath  an air of Freedom. 

The NCDC, in their recent twit had reported  that 245 new cases of the Coronavirus infection were recorded in Lagos, Abuja and 14 other states of the Federation which had increased the total  number of infected persons  since the out- break of the disease last February in the country  to 2,802 .

Chikwe Ihekweazu: Director General, NCDC

 The ministry of Health agency had revealed that 76 of the Confirmed  cases were discovered in Lagos, which had started experiencing the phased easing of the lock down since Monday, May 4, 2020 . There are fears that the number may be more between now and Sturday, May 9, 2020, if the 3000  samples , which Babajide Sanwo-Olu,  the state governor , had said  are awaiting to be tested were resolved.  The governor had said that the samples had not been tested ” due to lack  of  reagent  for molecular testing in the state”.

37 persons were said to have been infected in Katsina, the President home state. Kano , which had been in the news in the last two weeks over alleged  mysterious deaths and rising cases of the COVID 19 infections   had 23 cases but Jigawa , which had not experienced much of the infections was said to be hard hit as there were  confirmed 32 cases, meaning that the Ramadam has thrown the door of the state open  for  the disease.

The rising cases of the disease in the country in the recent time and the planned evacuation of 4000 Nigerians in Diaspora, in the face of the ravaging COVID 19 pandemic, was a clear indication, according to Medical experts  that the  government might be forced  to implement  another lock down  in Lagos , Abuja and Ogun state , if people fail to  comply with  the social distancing measures  as announced by the NCDC and the World Health Oganisation, who, an agency of the United Nations, UN, in order to curb the spread of the disease in the country.

Appealing to Banks and other business Organisations to join hands with the,  government  to implement  the required health measures ,Ihekweazu, the Director General, of the agency, had said  that the decision by the Financial Institutions to open only few of its branches , across the country during these phased easing of the lock down in the two major cities and Ogun could be counterproductive as people  trooped  out to the limited options, leading to clusters .

The NCDC helmsman  fears that  the activities at the banks on Monday, May 4, 2020, which forced Customers to throw caution to the wind  may  result in explosion of the disease in the country. The question on the lips of most people  is : how would the government manage the health Crisis in order to mitigate  the risk of exposure  and the transmission of the disease in the country?

 An  aggrieved  Ihekweazu, has warned Nigerians  to learn from the Monday behavior of Customers in the  banks across the country  or ”return to square one’’. According to him, they already knew  there would be problem  by  letting out people  from their homes after about a month of forced holiday  to avert the spread of the Coronavirus in the country . ”What we don’t want is an explosion of new infections of the disease in the country’’, he remarked.

The NCDC boss, may have confirmed the rumours making the rounds    that if it happens there is an explosion of the disease in Lagos and other parts of the country, ”there would almost be no choice for the leadership of the country  than to order  everybody  back into their homes’’.

This is a clear indication that Buhari will extend the lock down in the affected Cities and Ogun in the next two weeks  if Nigerians fail to keep to the social distancing measure in banks, markets and buses. The governors may have started implementing the second phase of the lock down in their respective states, particular, in the north where the disease is killing prominent people including prominent Emirs in Kano, Zaamfara and Borno states.

Stephen Ubanna

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