From the 28 of January 2020, when the NCDC announced the first index case of the dreaded Corona virus in Nigeria, Nigerians of all walks of life expectedly became apprehensive and advocated prompt action from both the federal and 36 state governments to stem the spread of the deadly virus.
This is against the backdrop of the fact no cure has yet been found for the virus. As at the last count, the total confirmed cases for the Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria stood at 111 and still counting.
This is scary, given the poor status of our health infrastructure in Nigeria, which may limit our capacity and capability to contain a full blown epidemic should the virus spiral out of control.
It is perhaps, in the light of this fear that States such as Kaduna, took the bull by the horn by setting up a quick response task force under the Chairmanship of the Deputy Governor, to react appropriately to any eventuality should the virus find its way into the State.
Among the commendable steps taken by the taskforce is the emplacement of a 24-hour state wide curfew, effective midnight of Thursday, March 26, 2020. The total lockdown was informed by the recalcitrance of some residents and motorists, especially in Kaduna metropolis to observe the social distancing and stay at home protocols necessary to flatten the Covid-19 curve.
As it is said, drastic situations require drastic measures. Since the curfew came into effect, there has been appreciable compliance with the stay at home order, while a few erring violators, including two clerics, who reportedly held congregational prayers on Friday, March 27, have been apprehended for necessary sanction. This is applaudable.
In the State wide broadcast preceding the onset of the Covid-19 restrictions, Governor El-rufai had hinted of some palliatives to cushion the effect of the no movement order. Commendable as that may be, residents of Kaduna are yet to see that promise fulfilled.
As the lockdown enters its sixth day, today, Monday, 30th March, 2020, l dare say that its negative multiplier effects are beginning to manifest in the lives of the people.
Most house holds are fast running out of food stuff and the end result may be a looming hunger. Furthermore, the elderly, especially those who are on life support medications are going through difficult times as they now find it extremely difficult to replenish their stock of drugs, no thanks to the curfew which has restricted them from accessing medical facilities outside their places of abode.
If this continues, we may witness a spike in health complications and in extreme cases, avoidable deaths.
Arising from the above, it may be necessary for the Kaduna State Government under the dynamic leadership of our iconoclastic Governor, Malam Nasir El-rufai, to consider a review of the curfew hours from the current 24 hours to between 10.00am and 4.00 pm, three days in a week, subject to periodic reviews, to provide a window for people to restock their fast depleting stock of food, drugs and other essential items.
Meanwhile, my heart goes out to Malam El-rufai, who is currently on self- isolation on account of testing positive to the monstrous and invisible Covid-19 virus. May God grant him and other victims of this virus, speedy recovery. Amen.
Dr.Linus Akor writes from Kaduna.