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No lockdown amid second wave of COVID-19

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Sir: Basking in the euphoria of relative containment of the dreaded coronavirus, Nigerians woke up to be confronted by an unprecedented spike on COVID-19 infected persons and deaths. This could be attributed to the nonchalant attitude of most people towards adherence to COVID-19 protocols and other non-pharmaceutical measures outlined by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Ministry of health.

The daily escalating number of COVID-19 cases occasioned by the second wave of the pandemic reported by the NCDC across the country is indeed worrisome.

Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa with a population of over 250 million. The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicted that the country would experience more infection and death due to poor medical facilities and dearth of financial capacity to contain the spread of the virus.

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Surprisingly, that never happened thus prompting other developed climes to seek the secret behind the success in containment of the spread of the virus. The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 should be commended for the proactive stance adopted during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The total lockdown, the establishment of state-of-the-art isolation and treatment centres in epicenters (Lagos, Abuja, Kano states) were quite apt and timely. More so, the activation of test centres in all the six geopolitical zones by the NCDC further ensured increased testing, identification and treatment of infected persons. This, to a large extent reduced the spread of the virus.

Sadly, despite the huge capital and human resources galvanised by government at all levels, cooperate bodies and highly spirited individuals in combating the virus during the first wave, it has reared its lethal fangs again. Like a smoldering inferno whose embers are continuously stoked, the coronavirus has assumed an octopoid dimension ravaging mankind and further crippling global economics.

A second lockdown as proposed by some quarters should be jettisoned by all and sundry. Another lockdown will not only push the economy to the brim of its precipice but will further exacerbate our parlous and recessed economy thus further escalating hunger, unemployment, insecurity, banditry and insurgency. While Nigerians await the influx of the COVID-19 vaccines to the country, all and sundry as a matter of importance should take up responsibilities by adhering strictly to government COVID-19 protocols. These are, but not limited to regular hard washing on running water, use of alcohol base hand sanitisers, wearing of nose/mouth masks and maintaining physical distancing.

In the same vein, prominent Nigerians, governors, famous entertainers, traditional rulers and federal legislators should willingly present themselves to be vaccinated first. This will build the confidence of Nigerians on the efficacy and safety of the vaccine.

Additionally, as public universities reopen, it is pertinent for the authorities concerned to constitute a mechanism that will ensure strict enforcement and compliance of COVID-19 protocols to nip the spread of the virus in the bud in citadels of academics across the country. And the time to do so is now.

 • Awazie Sunny wrote from Umuahia, Abia State.          

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