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COVID-19: Did Nigeria Relax the Lockdown Too Soon?

Nigeria relaxed the lockdown imposed in some parts of the country due to COVID-19 on Saturday, May 2nd. The question that most people are or should be asking is whether that was done too soon seeing that the number of cases recorded daily in the country is still on the increase.

The USA has started relaxing its lockdown because the numbers of cases are reducing. Is it right for us to follow the US when our own case is different? The charts below (courtesy of www.worldometers.info) which show the daily recorded cases (and 7-days moving averages) in Nigeria and the USA clearly show that the US is trending downwards.

Cases Worldwide

Like you alluded, there have been many arguments for and against the easing of restrictions.

I want to believe the easing was done not necessarily because we were having fewer cases, but also because of the fact that the so-called palliatives to the bulk of Nigerians, many of whom live on less than $1 per day and depend on daily hustling to survive has a lot to do with it.

Don’t also forget that restlessness and insecurity were on the increase, with many people becoming neighborhood vigilantes, to protect themselves from the 1 million boys cult and others… Police/Army did not also help help matters with their trigger-happiness.

i think these are some things that went into that decision to ease the lockdown.

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It’s a combination of several things, some of which I will list below:

  1. The government knows they really cannot effect any lockdown. You saw how people were disobeying the lockdown. Maybe the interstate restriction was a bit more effective, but within state was a problem. Most Nigerians are daily earners and in the absence of savings (you won’t really blame the people because things are so difficult in Nigeria with lot’s of people earning less than $1 per day, you can’t really expect people to be saving out of that when they can barely survive), they need to go out and look for how and what to eat. It is not easy sitting down at home and waiting for hunger to kill you as against taking your chance with the virus.

  2. The government cannot afford to do what other countries that implemented lockdown do for their citizens. If something like security became a big issue. govt could not even offer the most basic form of security, instead we had security forces killing citizens, harmless citizens at that. Govt could also not support the elderly, sick, poor and vulnerable. The so-called palliatives could not go round. Even if it could have gone round, how sustainable would it have been especially now that the source of our revenue (oil) is tanking, no thanks to the virus and oversupply?

  3. Some state governments are waiting for FG money before they can do anything.

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I actually think it is a combination of many factors.

  • There is hunger in the land so you would not expect that people would find it easy or even agree to a long lockdown. It doesn’t matter what the virus is doing out there, people will still go out

  • Government cannot offer enough support in terms of palliatives

  • Insecurity would get out of hand

  • Those who were gainfully employed before the lockdown may suddenly find themselves out of jobs. Access Bank comes to mind.

  • Government may not have figured out a management regime for those already diagnosed with the virus, so there is no telling when, if they continue with the lockdown, that will end.

  • Inexperience. We, the people, and govt have not had this kind of experience before. At best, we are copying what other countries are doing like imposing lockdowns, but not being able to do the other aspects because of lack of funds (?).

I support total lockdown till we have this thing under control, but that is just me talking. How about those that may not have what to eat during the period of the lockdown?

The case of Kano comes to mind, right?

The funny thing is that even Lagos that many states point to that FG gave money did so much in terms of preparedness, isolation centers, etc before the FG money came.

Even Rivers State. I don’t think they have received FG money but they are doing so much to curtail the spread of the virus.

I think the next few days will determine if we will go back to full lockdown. I just hope everything normalizes soon.

Do you think a full lockdown will ever be an option again? What will determine this? If with the number of cases not decreasing but we are relaxing lockdown, what do you think will necessitate a full lockdown?

I share your optimism that this should quickly end.

I think a full lockdown can and will be imposed if the number of cases start increasing geometrically (God forbid!). But like I said, let’s see what the next week or weeks hold.

COVID-19 new cases announced yesterday by NCDC do not look good. Do you think we have started seeing the effect of the relaxation of the lockdown?

No,we have not. It takes upwards of 5 days before you can detect it in test results.

This is very true. I just hope we have learned our lessons and will be willing to implement those lessons if there is need for another lockdown.

No, I think what we are seeing is the effect of increased testing. I hear we the number tests in the last 2 weeks exceeds all the tests we have done since the pandemic started to two weeks ago. My guess is that we had a huge jump in number of tests yesterday. With more tests, you would expect to see more positive numbers.

I agree with you. The full effect of this lockdown relaxation will be seen in the next 1 week. I just hope we start developing herd immunity soon