By Ayo Fadimu and Kayode Tokede
The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu, has said the Federal Government may issue another lockdown if there is an explosion of COVID-19 cases in the country.
Ihekweazu, made this disclosure in Abuja on Monday while speaking at the presidential task force briefing on COVID-19 . He said that the federal government may be forced to issue another lockdown if cases explodes.
He said the country will record an increase in cases as a result of violation of social distancing measures.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier issued a five-week lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja to contain the spread of the disease.
The lockdown ended on Sunday, leading to a partial reopening of the economy.
However, There were reports of non-compliance with social distancing and other guidelines of the NCDC in Ogun, Lagos and Abuja where crowds were found at banks and in many buses
To curtail the spread of the pandemic, the NCDC DG called on Nigerians to conduct themselves based on the issued guidelines and maintain social distancing order of the Federal Government as well as practice personal hygiene.
“It is not the guidelines per se, it is the thinking behind it. How do we want to manage the risk of explosion and transmission? Today, we might forgive a little bite because it is the first day,” he said.
“We will have infection because of what happened today, no doubt about that. But how can we learn from the mistakes of today into tomorrow, next tomorrow so by Friday hopefully we have normalised some of these things.
“Yes, we knew today would be a problem because for the first time, people were let out of their homes but now they are out and we have seen the sunlight again, the challenge for us as a society is how do we now organise ourselves to mitigate these risks and limit transmission?
“We might have a few extra infection today and tomorrow but what we don’t want is an explosion of new infections. If we do have that infection, there will be almost no choice left for the leadership of the country than to ask all of us to go back into our homes. So for the benefit of coming out to reopen parts of the economy, there is a price to pay which is to reorganise ourselves to do this safely.”
As of Sunday evening, Nigeria recorded 2,558 cases of COVID-19, out of which 400 persons have recovered while 87 persons have died of it.
In a related development, following the federal government ease of covid-19 lockdown, customers on Monday stormed commercial banks in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja to transact businesses manually, our correspondent can report.
Our correspondent gathered these customers violated the federal government social distaining, forcing some commercial banks to close immediately and leaving customers stranded.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu had said commercial banks would be allowed to open with strict observance of all rules on hygiene and social distancing, just as they should ensure that their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are sanitised and provide means of transport for their staff members.
Most commercial banks in the country had maintained electronic transactions to reduce crowd at banking hall but the case was different on Monday as most customers with cheques wanted to transact physical transactions.
A first generation commercial bank in Lagos was forced to close for businesses as customers flooded its branch, while a customer fainted in a strongerTeir-2 commercial bank operating in the country, our correspondent gathered.
According to Sanwo-Olu stated, “We encourage banks and other financial institutions to open and offer full complement of services to members of the public, but they must ensure that they comply with all directives on maximum office capacity and physical distancing.”