Nigeria COVID-19 data show 37.3% week on week increase since gradual easing started
On Thursday last week, chairman of Nigeria’s Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha hinted on the possibility of another lockdown, citing the continued rise in COVID-19 cases in the country.
Mustapha, who is also Secretary to the Government of the Federation, decried the “reckless handling” of the virus by Nigerians, hinted that another lockdown might be imposed to curtail the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus.
“This is the time to lockdown if it were within my power. This is the time to lockdown because I can see the attitude of people romancing with COVID-19.
“The daily increase in confirmed cases, the Federal Government feels a sense of frustration because we can see glaringly the danger ahead and you can see the level of recklessness on the part of people who should know better,” Mustapha lamented.
In the same vein, authorities of Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos which had become the epicenter of the virus, also threatened to impose another lockdown if Lagosians continued to flout the protocols put in place to curtail the spread of the virus.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi at a media briefing last week noted that although the State has been able to balance the economy of the state with the health status of the public, “it still would not hesitate to go on another lockdown if the residents continue to flout the orders”.
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The Southwestern State of Osun was also another state that threatened to impose a lockdown if they didn’t see any change in attitude towards the virus.
Faced with the dilemma of economic and rising coronavirus concerns, the authorities prioritised the economy and lifted some restrictions despite rising cases, following in the footsteps of other emerging economies such as South Africa, India, Mexico, Russia, Iran, and Pakistan.
As of Saturday, June 27 the total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria stood at 24,077. This represents a 10.05% increase since May 4 when the country had a total of 2,422 confirmed cases as the lockdown was being lifted.
A look at the Nigeria COVID-19 data showed that on the week that the lockdown was lifted, Nigeria recorded 1,594 cases, but by the last week of June, the total number of cases had peaked at over 4,000 cases per week, representing a 37.3% week on week increase in the number of infections.
These statistics continue to be a source of concern to the authorities and point to the inevitability of another lockdown as a desperate measure to stem the rising cases.
Nigerians weigh in on the dilemma
With poor social conditions, weak enforcement of the COVID-19 guidelines, and general suspicious public attitude towards the virus fueled by ignorance, some Nigerians who spoke to Nigeria Today say it is not likely that a second lockdown will be effective.
A health worker, Ogunlade Abisola who has been at the forefront of the pandemic fight told Nigeria Today that despite the public’s attitude to the virus, it is unlikely that another lockdown will be effective.
“Left to me, I feel the populace isn’t seeing it true that the pandemic is real. Many still believe it’s a form of gimmick or political prank, and the government isn’t helping matters either…rumoured footages from isolation centres portray the pandemic as unreal.
“Lockdown would have been effective but adequate measures aren’t put in place to ensure compliance, people lack some basic needs for survival and the lockdown prevents them from accessing all these.”
On his part, a businessman, Usman Abdul Gafar said: “As someone who is into business, if you ask 100 of us, 95 will say NO, there’s no need for another lockdown, and this is obviously because it’s affecting businesses generally.
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“But what I think the government should do is that they should start to realise that this is a pandemic and it can’t be totally eradicated even in two years, so are we going to close down the country for that period of time? Of course not.
“So the government should create something called a COVID-19 compatible economy, that will cut across all sectors, as such, people will be able to go on with their normal way of life but adhering to the laid down rules guiding their respective establishments.”
Also speaking, Adeyemi Olutosin, a local council employee said: “There is a need for lockdown because the figures keep increasing by the day. Unless there are financial commitments from the government to the people otherwise, the lockdown might not work.
“The first two weeks of the lockdown was effective because of palliative from non-governmental organisations to the people but it collapsed when the help stopped forthcoming.
“We can learn from advanced countries where token was deposited into accounts of residents. Our government can do even more.”
In a similar vein, a teacher Yahya Ekunnusi said: “The fact is this, despite the fact that the number of affected people is on the increase, I don’t think lockdown is the solution to the problem, considering the type of people we have. I think the government needs to do more, and then the people also need to help themselves.
“However, I would support that the schools should remain locked down because children, if you allow them to meet themselves, there would be a big problem. In fact, if you ask me, I’d say till next year.”