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COVID-19 Lockdown Relaxation: A Case of Survival of the Fittest

The evening of Monday, the 27th of April 2020 brought about some relief for Nigerians especially the residents of Lagos, Ogun and the FCT as the President ordered a phased and gradual relaxation of the lockdown, which had been imposed since the 30th of March, 2020.

The president, in his nationwide broadcast, said that the decision was informed by the socio-economic impacts of the lockdown on Nigerians. He, however, made it known that the relaxation would not take effect until the 4th of May, and will come with a set of guidelines such as the 8 pm to 6 am curfew which must be strictly adhered to.

He also noted that State Governors may choose to amend, adapt and expand based on their unique circumstances, provided they align with the guidelines issued.

Following the pronouncement by President Muhammadu Buhari, residents of Lagos, Ogun and FCT have been basking in the euphoria of the relaxation as they will now be allowed to go about their daily activities. Alas! The perturbing situation here is the level of exposure to the virus this implies.

There is no doubt that ever since the lockdown, average Nigerians, as well as low-income earners, have been complaining of hunger and insecurity (to mention a few), resulting in the pressure on the presidency to relax the lockdown.

The lockdown is seen to have affected the daily means of income for millions of Nigerians as the acclaimed palliative scheme rolled out by the government has failed to reach the people in dire need of it.

The Lagos state government tasked Lagosians to observe the preventive measures laid in place as the NCDC highlighted that community transmission of the virus, which poses a colossal threat to the state health system as it would be difficult to manage cases in high numbers looking at the available number of health facilities as against the projected number of cases.

Despite the efforts of the government to curtail the spread of the virus, it can be seen that the number of cases increased daily with the current number of confirmed cases as at 27th of April 2020 being 1337, according to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC). In spite of the obvious rapid increase in the number of cases, there have been speculations as to the genuineness of the number of confirmed cases, as some Nigerians still think the government is generating fictitious figures from the pandemic to ostensibly instil fear in the people and enrich themselves from funds allocated to the cause.

It is imperative to note that despite the sensitization of the government, individuals and organizations on the factors surrounding the transmission of the virus and preventive measures to be taken, certain individuals still go about flouting these precautions thereby jeopardizing the health of themselves and others.

It then becomes the case of “survival of the fittest” one’s resistance level is then premised on the strength of one’s immune system.

Therefore, there is no doubt that the relaxation of the hitherto observed lockdown will further accelerate the spread of the virus if necessary precautions and government guidelines are not strictly adhered to.

Although the relaxation will relief the citizens and be impactful on the running of the economy, there is still a need for us not to be oblivious of the reciprocal effect of the lockdown and its relaxation.

Another major concern is the feasibility of the nationwide curfew especially in the case of a cosmopolitan city like Lagos, the traffic as well as the mass transit of residents from one place to another. The enforcement of the guidelines announced by the President will indeed be difficult especially in the case of social distancing and use of facemask.

Starting from 4th of May 2020, the result of the relaxation on the people, our healthcare system and the Nigerian economy shall begin to unfold. He who deems himself fit should step out! #Survivalofthefittest

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