By Esther Onah
Towards the end of the year, 2019, there was an outbreak of a deadly virus which spread like wildfire and almost ravaged the entire human race. This negatively affected the year 2020 in every aspect.
The hope that year 2021 would start on a good and healthy footing has been dashed following the second wave of the virus which is deadlier than the previous one yet, many people have taken it for a joke.
Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, was in the news recently, said that economic and social implications may make it difficult for the federal government to impose another lockdown in the country. He had, urged Nigerians to adhere strictly to all COVID-19 safety protocols as laid down by the presidential taskforce on COVID-19.
In that case, one is tempted to ask that, is lockdown not part of the laid down protocols by the PTF? If we have to go by the protocols, then, I suppose that lockdown in the adversely affected states would be in order because the disruptions and setbacks caused by the virus to the nation, last year when these issues were not attended to on time, are still very fresh in our memories
We are quite aware that a lot of people lost their means of livelihood because the information about the virus was taken with a pinch of salt. Things were also difficult for those who did not lose their jobs but could not go out due to restriction of movements. Things were even more difficult for those who lost their loved ones. Most of these misfortunes happened because we did not take this deadly virus seriously when we should and today, even as the second wave is here with us, many people are still ignorant of the devastating effects of the disease, they still believe it is not real but a scam.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is at it again, many have received reports again that thousands of people are contracting the disease every day. I would like to believe that the time to act is now.
According to NCDC, Nigeria is currently recording more cases than ever before. Testing is the only way to truly understand the burden of Covid-19, particularly now that we are recording more cases than ever. We have worked tirelessly to increase capacity and access to COVID-19 testing across the country”.
This testing that is said to be going on across the country has until now not reached many places one year after the outbreak of the disease. Many have not been tested. Unfortunately, some states like Lagos, Kaduna, Plateau and Oyo have the highest cases and are still recording more. This should be a thing of great concern for us as a nation. Even as schools were on holidays, the rate of infection was on the increase. What would happen now that schools have reopened in these places? Would it not be better if lockdown is imposed on these states and schools remain closed until something really drastic is done to the effect?
Talking about the vaccines, we hear that the wealthy ones are travelling abroad for the vaccines but then, as it has always been in this country, for the poor masses, they are on their own, hence, the need for the rest of the populace to do their part; the need for Nigerians to adhere to the preventive measures cannot be over emphasized.
Benue State has already recorded considerable number of COVID-19 infections in this wave of the virus, and lives have also been lost around here due to the virus, yet, only a handful of persons wear face masks. Apart from the banks and a few places, the preventive measures are not being enforced and people have become so relaxed.
One wonders what is preventing the NCDC and the government from continuing sensitization of the public on the importance of adhering to the rules once more in order to guide the people again. There should be sustained sensitization of the populace. People should realize by now that the issue of COVID-19 prevention and control, as well as many other issues.We are on our own as always because no one would do this for us. Therefore, the little that we need to do to safeguard ourselves and our families, we should try to do. All hands must be on deck, because COVID-19 is real and here with us.
It is high time that Nigerians and Benue people stop thinking that COVID-19 is a scam, it is a war that we must fight. Of course, truth must be told. We do not have enough health facilities and, ventilators are in very limited supply. Let us reduce unnecessary gatherings and frequent travels. Put on the face masks,- they are not heavy, let us keep our environment clean and practice physical distancing alongside frequent hand washing with soap and water.
Priests and Pastors should always endeavour to put on their face masks, especially during worship sessions. They should lead by example and encourage their congregation to do same.