The Federal Government through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has vowed to lockdown the country again should there be explosion of coronavirus cases.
This was made known by the Director-General of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, while speaking at during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
Following the easing of the lockdown in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun, normal activities resumed in the three states on Monday after five weeks of staying at home.
However, several pictures and videos that went viral on social media, showed citizens flouting social distancing rules as they fought on queues and tried to force their way into banks, bus and business premises.
Reacting to the incidents on Monday, Ihekweazu acknowledged that initial reports across the country ‘are not too pleasing’.
He expressed worry that corporate organisations, especially banks, flouted the NCDC’s guideline for infection prevention and control.
Ihekweazu warned that government may be forced to issue another lockdown if coronavirus cases explode. He said:
“When we say take responsibility this time, yes we are addressing individuals but we really needed to address corporate Nigeria.
“One of the biggest groups that we have allowed to restart business today were banks. When you limit the number of branches that open, everybody goes to the one branch that is open; that becomes counter-productive.
“We can produce all the guidelines in the world but if organisations are not going to come up and support the implementation of these measures and help us manage the risks and focus on a risk-based approach, then our efforts might amount to little or nothing.
“Today we might forgive a little bit because it was the first day. However, we will have infections because of what happened today, no doubt about that.
“But what is more important is how we can learn from the mistakes of today into tomorrow and into next tomorrow, so that by Friday, hopefully they will have normalised some of these things.”
“Yes we knew today will be a problem because for the first time people were let out of their homes but the challenge for us as a society is how we now organise ourselves to mitigate this risk to limit transmission from each other, so that, yes we might have a few extra infections today and tomorrow, but what we dont want is an explosion of new infections.
“If we do have that explosion, there will be almost no choice left for the leadership of the country than to ask all of us to go back into our homes.
“So for the benefits of having a few hours a day of coming out and reopening parts of the economy, there is a price to pay and that price is that we organise ourselves to do this strictly.”
According to the NCDC, Nigeria has currently recorded 2,802 coronavirus cases in 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). 417 people have recovered and been discharged after medical treatment, but 93 people have died.