The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19); How the Federal Government and Nigerians can prevent it's outbreak.
The outbreak of the coronavirus in developed and first world countries like Italy, Spain, the United States of America, and France is indication that no country or continent is resistant to this virus regardless of their infrastructural facilities in the healthcare sector. Even though there is no outbreak in Nigeria yet, there are numerous reasons why the CORVID-19 may spread even beyond its coverage.
Nigeria has very porous entries in all her borders. We share borders with countries terrorized with the COVID-19. With the unrestricted travelling and entry of migrants among us and these countries, there is high possibility that an outbreak is imminent. Nigeria shares a border with Cameroun, and there is continuous, unrestricted entry of people in and out of both countries. Why not lock up the border between Nigeria and Cameroun and stop all immigration from there via road and air. It is imperative to note that this disease maybe asymptomatic at first, so there may be a carrier from Cameroun into Nigeria, who would most definitely have contact with Nigerians and transmit the virus.
Ghana already have six separate confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in their country as at the time this news is been published. The first case has had 32 contacts, the second case has had over 100 contacts, the third case has had 12 contacts, and the fourth person has had 30 contacts. The last two cases are still been monitored closely. All travels to Ghana are strongly discouraged.
Before the introduction of the COVID-19 into Nigeria by the Italian, our government knowing that there was an outbreak in this country shouldn’t have allowed any form of entry from there, instead, they took a risk and the Italian was tested positive. If an Italian man whose country possesses top class facilities was infected by this virus, the outbreak in Italy (a first world country) is even a further attestation that the virus is an extremely virulent one and shouldn’t be taken for granted.
There are uncountable reasons why we should be worried in Nigeria, asides from sharing porous borders with affected countries, amongst others, viruses have a very uncontrolled nature of replication and duplication, and once they target a host community, they proliferate and multiply in their numbers. The virulence of viruses, and Nigeria’s low health and medical infrastructures are reasons why we should be worried, among others.
Nigeria as a community with the most populated black people must begin to take swift and prompt measures in combating this virus, and this begins with taking proper preventive measures, so it doesn’t turn into an outbreak and begin to wipe out a percentage of our population. The Italians with all their scientific powers have had more concerns about this virus and the football league has been shut down. The summer Olympics is under threat, the most watched football league in the world; the English premier league is on the verge of having its season cancelled. Some football matches between different European nations have also been put on hold. We must cancel all immigration from Italy, America, and the United Kingdom. The Nigerian professional football league should also ensure the teams do not engage in continental matches for now. We must begin to limit and put a restriction on mass gatherings that have very little significance as life and health is more important than entertainment. The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) orientation programs in various camps across the nation shouldn’t have commenced because of the risk it has in spreading different diseases as most camps in Nigeria don’t have state of the art health facilities to arrest any urgent medical issue if need be. The staff working at the airports, seaports, and borders must be properly immunized always, as they always have first contact with the immigrants from any country. Having said that, the borders linking Nigeria to countries where this virus is found should be closed and all immigration from affected countries should be stopped. Nigerians must improve on their personal hygiene; the importance of hand washing-with soap and water or with antimicrobial sanitizers cannot be overemphasized.
Italy has the world’s second largest worst COVID-19 infection rate and it must be shocking to note that a first world country with top class infrastructures can be struggling with an outbreak that has caused the death of about 1200 people out of about 9,172 cases. They have recorded 362 deaths in the last 24 hours. Questions need to be asked about how the Italian government could not curb this crisis until the outbreak happened. What lessons can our government learn from the Italian government’s inability to contain this virus? The first error from the Italian government was they took the virus for granted and didn’t take necessary steps to prevent it from entering into the shores of their country. All immigrants from china, the origin of the COVID-19, should have been isolated and quarantined from the airport. Nigeria can learn from this! Now that there is an outbreak in some first world countries, there is no point allowing an immigration from those countries, and then trying to quarantine them, we must block all entries from affected countries until this menace is over. The virus is spreading really fast and it is only expected that a serious country wouldn’t take it for granted like the Italians did. The USA has taken a swift reaction on this already.
Another massive and damaging error made by the Italians was the public performance played by their virologists, alongside both their print media and social media experts in giving contradicting information about the virus and its epidemiology. There were too many doubts in the Italian ecosystem as to whether the outbreak was real and this made the citizens to undermine its virulence. Same is happening in Nigeria where almost everyone is now a health expert on social media platforms, arguing whether Nigerians are resistant and immune to it, and actually downplaying it because there hasn’t been an outbreak yet. We must do everything we can to learn from these affected countries and combat this menace. We have had several people giving wrong information, and advising on what to do and not to do. These social media experts are not health professionals. The state government must do all they can to properly orientate their citizens on preventive measures and how they would stay hygienic.
Are Nigerians doing the needful to keep themselves safe and free? If there were to be an outbreak in Nigeria or any of the states today, are Nigerians properly immunized against this infection? Places that have capacity for hosting large gatherings like stadiums, churches, mosques, open air markets, camps, factories, banks, and other private firms should begin to implement measures to prevent any kind of disease outbreak, be it the COVID-19 or any kind of infection.