July 27, 2020

Group worries over rising cases of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria

A group, Centre for Change, has expressed worries over the rising cases of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, urging both Federal and State Governments to adhere strictly to COVID-19 protocols.


Its President, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, expressed the concern in a statement on Monday in Lagos.


Okei-Odumakin decried the spikes in cases due to what she described as “the loose approach” adopted by the governments and people’s nonchalant attitude to observance of the protocols.


“All over now, the COVID-19 protocols, especially face masks, and the observance of physical distancing, are not strictly adhered to.

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“Laws have been enacted for enforcement, but these, too, have been exploited in the main by unscrupulous officials to further fleece people and feather their own nests.


“These, then, are sure recipes for further community spreading of the virus.


“Efforts at lockdown, having failed owing to its fainthearted implementation as well as outright sabotage by those meant to enforce it, the authorities appear in a quandary on how to prosecute this war,” she said.


The group president said with 555 new cases of the Coronavirus infection reported last night by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Nigeria had eventually crossed the 40,000 threshold.


“The total number of infections now stand at 40,532. Discharged cases are 17,374, while deaths recorded stand at 858.


“Ironically, as the spike in infections continues, the dread of the virus among Nigerians appears to wane.


“Many Nigerians go about their life as if unmindful of the existence or viciousness of the virus.


“Virtual all aspects of economic life have been opened fully or partially, including schools and places of worship in many states of the federation.


“The initial tough stance of the Federal Government in its handling of the pandemic has also waned.


“So, also has its breathing down the neck of state governments ceased,” Okei-Odumakin said.


She noted that the state governments had now assumed the independence to take steps to open up their states at their discretion, often at variance with Federal Government directives or opinions on the matter.


According to her, states too, are not coordinated in their respective decisions, leading to divergence of views and decisions from state to state.


She noted that analysts were of the opinion that these uncoordinated approaches were reasons for the spike in the case of infections.


The right activist added that other reasons adduced include: lack of good examples by those in leadership positions in that they blatantly violated the COVID-19 protocols for all to see.


“It is not surprising, therefore, that many highly placed citizens have been known to have contracted the virus.


“While many of them have survived, a few high profile fatalities have been recorded,” she said.


Okei-Odumakin said that getting accurate data was problematic as cases of infections and fatalities were usually concealed or attributed to other sources.


“Many, both high and low, still regard it as a stigma to announce that someone close to them died of COVID-19.


““The poverty level on the side of the vast majority of people coupled with the lean resources of government to provide palliatives make another nationwide lockdown a nightmare, even as the country has yet to get to the plateau of infections.


“There is, therefore, no denying the fact that in the days and weeks ahead, the country will continue to witness a spike in infections.


“With costs of treatment on the rise, facilities and equipment getting inadequate, and many who cannot find space in designated isolation centres or cannot afford the cost resorting to self help or treatment at home, the last has not been heard on the COVID-19 pandemic on these shores,” Okei-Odumakin said.