COVID-19, Lagos and Nigeria
If Lagos was not to witness a social explosion, it had to reopen its economy weeks ago. Better a few hundred deaths than a revolution spurred by hunger. It was the right decision.
But that decision was predicated on the readiness of the populace to adhere to a number of rules and regulations policing the lockdown relaxation, including social distancing, discontinuance of Okada mode of public transportation, and other protocols.
With nearly half of the 15,181 infections in Nigeria, Lagos, the epicentre of COVID-19, has an unacceptably high and increasing rate of infections. It surrendered to the Okada menace, and has not been scrupulous in enforcing other protocols.
To re-impose lockdown is of course out of the question, but together with the federal government, Lagosians and the rest of the country must be compelled to abide by the rules of the lockdown relaxation.
A few weeks ago, Nigeria competed favourably with other African countries in sustaining low infection and mortality rates, including with Ghana and South Africa.
By Friday, Nigeria had become less competitive with more than 15,000 people infected and a mortality rate of 2.66 percent (or 399 deaths). Compare this figure with Ghana’s 10,358 infections and mortality rate of 0.46 percent (or 48 deaths).
Clearly, despite the hard work of Nigeria’s presidential task force and the expertise of Nigeria’s healthcare professionals, the country has become less effective in managing the disease.
Flattening the curve is still some way off, but it is urgent that Nigeria must review its protocols and find more effective ways of managing a disease that is unlikely to disappear soon.