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63% of Nigerians are scared they may contract Coronavirus- NOIPolls

Coronavirus: Why many are still at risk amid hand-washing practice

With increase cases of coronavirus in Nigeria, more than 6 in every 10 (63%) Nigerians are now concerned that they may contract the virus, a poll released Wednesday by NOIPolls Limited, a country-specific polling service, shows.

While 84percent of the nationwide selected sample of 1,000 phone-owning Nigerians engaged by NOIPolls were aware of the COVID-19, 50 percent of the population who are 18 years and above said they do not have information on how to prevent themselves from contracting the virus.

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“The poll revealed that 50 percent of Nigerians do not have information on preventive measure against the coronavirus disease. This implies that about hundred million Nigerians are at risk of being infected with the disease,” the report said.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is currently estimated to have a population of 200 million.

Analysis of the poll result by the Abuja-based institution reveals that 26 percent of Nigerians, which cut across gender, geographical location and age-group believe that they are immune to the virus. They held this belief based on the basis of their faith and religious beliefs (40 percent) and the conviction that they have strong genetic make-up (30 percent) that is resistant to the virus.

“With the incorrect news of immunity being spread, it is alarming to note that the poll revealed” that 17 percent of the population believed that the “Nigerian weather is too hot for the virus to survive in,” the reported noted.

Some (8 percent) of the interviewed 1,000 people believed that “their herbal remedy can protect them from the virus, while others have the idea that the COVID-19 is not an African disease, but rather a western disease (5 percent),” the report said.

However, with regards to knowledge of the symptoms of infection, cough (45 percent), fever (33 percent) and sneezing (25 percent) were identified as the top three symptoms of the virus, while body contact with an infected person was mostly mentioned as one of the primary ways of spreading the virus.

Further analysis of the poll result revealed that 45 percent were of the opinion that regular washing of hands is one of the measures they would take to prevent the spread of the disease.

From the poll result, a vast majority of Nigerians disclosed that they would be willing to report (97 percent) and be tested (97 percent) if they show any signs of COVID-19. They are also willing to be quarantined (97 percent) if they are at risk of spreading the virus disease.

“The awareness level is not surprising given that the health authorities have through various media platforms informed Nigerians of the illness and have assured Nigerians that they can manage the spread of the virus, when the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the country in February 2020,” NOIPolls said, adding that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) issued a public health advisory to inform Nigerians about symptoms and preventive measures, and has provided a toll-free number for guidance.

NOIPolls said it decided to conduct the public opinion poll to gauge the perception of Nigerians regarding the awareness, mode of transmission, symptoms and to ascertain their awareness on possible preventive measures of COVID-19. The poll was conducted as at the time Nigeria had only 2 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the week of March 3rd 2020.

As at Thursday, 633 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Africa across 33 countries with 17 deaths, as compiled from data by the World Health Organisation, African Region (WHOAFRO).

According to WHOAFRO Egypt and South Africa have the highest number of confirmed cases with 126 and 161 cases, respectively. Senegal and Burkina Faso have the highest cases in West Africa with 36 and 26 confirmed cases respectively. The Gambia, Mauritius and Zambia have announced their first cases in the last 24 hours.

In Nigeria, more than 48 people have been screened for COVID-19 in 8 States namely, Edo, Enugu, F.C.T, Kano, Lagos, Ogun, Rivers and Yobe out of which eight cases have been confirmed as positive. Five of the cases were confirmed on Wednesday, March 18.

Global infection numbers are estimated at more than 185,067 with most confirmed cases in China and Italy. Meanwhile, China which is home to Wuhan the virus origin city has reported no new infections for the first time since the pathogen emerged more than two months ago.

More than 7,330 deaths have been confirmed since the outbreak, however, about 80,236 cases have recovered from the disease. More than 155 countries have been infected so far with a high probability that more countries will be infected except drastic precautionary measures are enforced to prevent the spread and manage confirmed cases.