• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Coronavirus: ActionAid wants Buhari to order 14-day lockdown across country

Coronavirus in Nigeria is not a result of failure of screening at the airport – health minister

ActionAid Nigeria has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to consider a lockdown of the country, for the next 14 days in efforts to prevent an out-of-hand spread of the novel coronavirus ravaging many parts of the world.

Except those on essential services, the Presidential Task Force on Control of Covid-19 should restrict movement and intensify awareness campaign, the non-governmental organization advised in a statement released Tuesday evening.

Ene Obi, country director, ActionAid Nigeria while commending steps taken by the government so far, raised the need for more actions to be taken quickly.

“With the cases of infected persons increasing from 3 to 36 within a week, Nigeria needs to be ready for the worst-case scenario. Unfortunately, the concept of social distancing and self-isolation remains a mirage to many Nigerians. The average Nigerian, particularly those offline and at the grassroots are still ignorant and lack the basic safeguarding information on symptoms and prevention of the spread of the virus.” Ene said.

She also echoed the organisation’s concern that little has been done at the community levels as the average woman in the market, for instance, remain unaware that the virus is so contagious that an infected person with high exposure can infect up to 2.5 million persons within five days according to Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of Health, on Monday.

For reasons that could increase susceptibility such as the porous borders and overstretched public transport systems, ActionAid has been worried that Nigeria’s level of preparedness to respond to COVID-19 is low, reinforcing the need to re-prioritise budgetary provisions to healthcare.

The advocacy organization said outbreaks and pandemics create an opportunity to re-evaluate the potency of our healthcare system and authenticity of citizens database which would have eased contact tracing of the imported cases of the coronavirus.

Apart from issuing an order to lock down the country for the next 14 days, ActionAid Nigeria wants the federal government to open up emergency support for hospitals already coping with the treatment; bring on board the multitude of unemployed doctors and recall retired doctors before the crisis is fully blown.

Its other recommendation is increasing the awareness on the proactive measures to prevent the spread of the virus at the grassroots, with the National Orientation Agency and Ministry of Information raising public awareness in major Nigerian languages, especially on radio and other traditional means of communication.

It urged that media, particularly online mediums, to fact-check rapidly sprawling pieces of information while citizens support government’s effort by complying with the stay-home directive; reporting identified cases, practicing social distancing and self-isolation, and spreading preventive messages.