In this COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown Suspension, which would you rather choose, the devil or the deep blue sea?
The President, Mohammadu Buhari, in a nationwide broadcast on Monday, 27 April, relaxed the lockdown placed on Lagos with effect from Monday, 4 May, 2020.
The relaxation was received with mixed reactions. While some people believe that the relaxation is too early, especially with the rising cases of COVID-19 confirmed cases as reported by the NCDC, others are of the opinion that it is a step in the right direction, especially with the negative effect of the lockdown on the economy and its potential of inflicting hunger on the people.
Honestly, the decision to continue or ease the lockdown is a clear case of having to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea. The dicey situation calls for discipline and being responsible from both the government and the citizens.
With the advent and almost geometric increase in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria, government responded by putting in place drastic social distancing measures including the mandatory stay-at-home or lock down order. However, it was not long before it dawned on everyone that one of the side effects of the lock down is intense hunger building up among the people and the accompanying security challenges from this hunger build up.
Effective and efficient palliative from the government at all levels would have been a great stabilizing factor to the effective implementation of the lockdown, but that wasn’t the case, as the distribution of the palliative has received lots of condemnation from the people, ranging from lack of transparency to fraud allegations.
The challenge is simply this: if the lockdown continues for the purpose of breaking or limiting physical interaction and containing the virus, the already dire economic could deteriorate further as a result, people would become more restless due to hunger and this may lead to unintended social unrest and crisis. On the other hand, if the lockdown is relaxed or eased as the government has done, it may result in further community transmission and consequently a spike in the number of confirmed cases.
WAY FORWARD on the COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown Suspension:
The easing of the lockdown by the government means that the government has somehow thrust our lives/survival into our collective hands. Everyone is now responsible for his or her safety and that of the others. Yesterday, I went to a nearby market in Lagos Nigeria to buy some foodstuff. What I saw made me marvel. I observed that most people are not conscious of social or physical distancing at all.
In the midst of all these, we need to help one another get through these trying times and come out strong, without being swept away by this COVID-19 pandemic flood.
Here are some tips:
- Take social distancing as a collective responsibility: Practice social distancing consciously and conscientiously.
- Limit your going out: Although the lockdown is relaxed, it is not for everyone or an opportunity for everyone to go out. Don’t go out except it is absolutely necessary
- Enforce social distancing measures were possible: Public transport operators are told to load only 60% capacity but we know that if people don’t consciously enforce this in a state like Lagos, “Danfo” drivers will throw caution to the wind and carry on as usual, especially for places where law enforcement agents may not get to.
- Report offenders: We need to make use of the hot line provided by the government to report people that flaunt the social distancing measures provided by the government.
- Get COVID-19 helpful information from the right sources
- Practice improved personal hygiene: Regular washing of the hands properly with soap and water, wearing of facemasks in the public, use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers and other hygiene practices should be emphasized.