More than eight months after the emergence of the novel Coronavirus in Nigeria, many people no longer observe the safety measures put in place by authorities to keep safe.
Since the first confirmed case of COVID- 19 was announced on Feb. 27, 2020, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), along with the Federal Ministry of Health and other stakeholders, evolved measures to check the spread of the virus.
The centre, therefore, while following directives of the World Health Organisation (WHO), recommended the use of face mask, frequent washing of hands, social distancing, respiratory hygiene and stopped large gatherings as basic safety measures.
Even though Nigerians had observed the measures, especially during the lockdown that followed the announcement of the pandemic as global emergency and to check its spread, many are gradually dropping their guard.
A check by correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja saw many residents moving about without wearing a face mask, while some even doubt the existence of the pandemic in the first place and others just carry a face mask in their bags just in case.
Chief Ugochukwu Nnam, the President of Initiative for Leadership Development and Change (ILDC), an Abuja-based NGO, told NAN on Sunday that while many resident had stopped observing the COVID-19 protocols, others doubt the existence of the Coronavirus.
Nnam, who decried the unsafe attitude, added that “many people in the FCT don’t care; even in Churches and gatherings, they don’t wear face masks, while some wear the mask on their chins instead of the face. “I wonder if they really know the dangers of this pandemic; I wonder if they know that countries like Germany have entered into another phase of lockdown.
“As for me and my family, we use our face masks, I gave hand sanitisers to all my children as they go to school, I ensure they wash hands regularly even in their school through a steady reminder to their teachers.” Mrs Ogechi Osuoha, a teacher, called for intensive advocacy to change the perception of people about COVID-19, especially in markets.
Osuoha, who emphasised the imperatives of sensitisation and awareness to contain community spread, said that “the carelessness of some market women could trigger another phase of community infection.
“Many women in the market don’t use face masks and do not wash their hands or use hand sanitisers or wear hand gloves like they did at the heat of the pandemic before or after selling their wares.”
Mr Nurudeen Ahmed, a resident, attributed the attitude to ignorance and some sort of cultural beliefs. Ahmed said that he had at a time doubted the existence of the pandemic until he saw those that died of the disease.
“Honestly, I used to live my life freely without protection until I heard of a person I know very well that died of symptoms and complications from the disease in Spain.”
Mr Nelson Udunna, a laboratory scientist, said that the pandemic was real and capable of wiping out communities.
Udunna said that he had cultivated the culture of washing his hands more than four times a day, as well as protecting his nose and mouth with face mask whenever he mingled with other people.