The Nigerian Thing: How Are We Prepared For Covid-19 (Coronavirus)?, By Anthony Eferhirhie Abugu
Its no longer news or new to the Nigerian public of the newest virus in town ‘Coronavirus’ also known as Covid-19. This virus has its origin from the Wuhan province of China. When it started from Wuhan, China police and government officials thought it was a joke and like every other virus such as SARS, and thus they downplayed the warning by the first Doctor – Doctor Lin Wenliang who discovered the power of this virus and its spreading capability – about a strange deadly new virus that infects fast and that can spread so fast if not contain immediately.
The Chinese authorities summoned him for questioning and silenced him. He is now dead of the same virus but till today we have seen how this virus has spread like a harmattan wind causing a total lockdown of the city of Wuhan and down to other Chinese provinces. The virus continues to develop other tentacles that has spread to other Asian countries. In China alone there is currently 78,000 plus infected with 2,700 plus deaths.
According to some confirmed sources, the reality on the ground in China is more than the data being presented to the world in terms of
those infected and the numbers of death. Currently, it has hit 11 European countries with Italy as most of its origin. These 11 European countries are part of the 26 countries with infected cases of the covid-19 which is rated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as globally high. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), ‘For the first time, the number of new cases reported outside of China in one day was larger than those reported outside China’.
Also, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that ‘this virus is inevitable but it can be delay by serious and strategic preparatory measures.’ This now leads us to the question that has continued to give me sleepless nights ‘How prepare is Nigeria for Coronaviru – Covid-19?. Nigeria is a very dynamic country when issues of life and death such as a deadly virus as coronavirus is at play. When this virus finally hit home, will it be downplay by regional politics or religion or political interest of maneuver here and there leaving the Nigerian populace to waste away in deaths and anarchy?.
What is our Federal government doing right now to curtail this virus? Or is Nigeria immune to this virus? These and many more mind
pruning questions any reasonable Nigerian should start asking before its too late for us to even scream from our Eldorado of I don’t care attitude which is a Nigerian thing.
Other countries who are still observing the spread of this virus are already setting contingency modalities in place to check against this virus, its spread and quarantine facilities. Nigeria must be prepare if not; apart from the deaths and chaos, it’s going to cause it will crash the Nigeria ailing economy. The federal government must put serious measures in place such as establishing Medical Quarantine Facilities (MQF) at least 3 to 5 in each states of the country, banned all flights from the already infected countries (high-risk countries) from coming to Nigeria, subjecting all Asian nationals that came into the country since January this year to test the coronavirus test.
Most importantly, as a national responsibility, our health officials starting from the Minister of Health to all the states commissioners of Health need to have a daily brief of the spread of the virus and most importantly the Federal Government has to constitute a Federal government response team or committee now and immediately. We must be ready for this virus as a nation and individually and our best attack is not defense but strategic preparation which must happen now.
Till now, most Nigerians don’t know what this virus is, its causes and early symptoms. Our health officials must come out to sensitize the general public of the details of this virus, possible and early symptoms and closest testing and quarantine facilities. If we play the Nigerian thing of I don’t care now we will too care in the nearest future when the die has already been cast against our survival. If we play regional or religious politics with it then we are finished. This is not one of those situations where the World Health Organization or the European Union will send help. They have the same challenge and until there is a viable vaccine to limit the spread and enforce a cure then our greatest weapon is our preparation individually and as a nation.
Lastly, here is a global report of infected countries as of February 26, 2020: Afghanistan with 1 confirmed case, Algeria 1, Australia with 23, Austral 2, Bahrain 33, Belgium 1, Brazil 1, Cambodia 1, Canada 12, China 78,497, Croatia 3, Denmark 1, Egypt 1, Estonia 1, Finland 2, France 18. Georgia 1, Germany 21, Greece 3, India 3, Iran 245, Iraq 6, Israel 3, Italy 528, Japan 189, Kuwait 43, Lebanon 2, Malaysia 22, Nepal 1, North Macedonian 1, Norway 1, Omar 4, Pakistan 2, The Philippines 3, Romania 1, Russia 5, Singapore 93, South Korea 1,766, Spain 12, Sri Lanka 1, Sweden 2, Switzerland 4, Taiwan 32, Thailand 40, United Arab Emirates 13, United Kingdom 15, United States 60 and Vietnam 16. African countries are left out for now except Egypt. The puzzling question is the coronavirus – covid-19 already in Nigeria or West Africa and we don’t know or our testing facilities are not adequate or the fear of discrimination or being branded and secluded is hindering victims from coming out for testing? God help us and help the Federal Republic of Nigeria in these turbulent times