Oselumhense Anetor, March 19, 2020.

In the wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic, several countries have had to take drastic measures in an attempt to save lives, and control the spread of the virus. Key words have become ‘social distancing’, ‘hand hygiene’, and even ‘self isolation’, if need be.

According to the WHO, over 207,000 persons have been confirmed to be currently living with the virus worldwide, while about 8,600 deaths have been recorded globally.

In Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health has confirmed eight cases of the virus within the country, while one American has been reported to have died in Ekiti State. All cases have been imported into the country.

In Enugu state, the deplorable state of the isolation center, which directly/indirectly led to the death of an elderly woman who was placed under monitoring, has raised national health concerns regarding our level of preparedness.

There are only five testing/isolation centers in the whole of Nigeria, which has over 200 million people. It’s even been alleged that there aren’t any centers at all in the core Northern States of the Federation.

It is good that many Nigerians have moved from indifference to doubt, and now, realization. The Federal government has placed a ban on traveling to and from counties that have recorded more than 1,000 cases. This is a step in the right direction.

State governors are making serious plans to shut down schools, and even religious gatherings. But sadly, we’re yet to see any bans on public transportation services within and outside various states of the Federation. In all of this, our dear President has not come out to address the Nation.

But do not wait for the government. This isn’t the time to be overly religious, or engage in unnecessary rational arguments. We must take precautionary measures to ensure that the Corona Virus does not overwhelm us. We CANNOT deal with a health pandemic of this nature in this country.

Social distancing is therefore key. We must avoid crowded areas like Churches, mosques, malls, etc, during this period. Carry hand sanitizers in our pockets if we have to, and not be shy to wear a face mask if we must (remember the iron trip stays on the bridge of the nose, while the coloured side of the mask is turned outwards).

Travelling must be minimized, if not totally avoided at this time. There ought to be no handshakes during this period, and we must avoid touching our faces unnecessarily. If we can, this is the time to go shopping for basics like tissue papers, other toiletries, food stuffs, etc; whatever we might need if we get to the stage of a national shutdown. Whatever has to be done, has to be done.

Above all, we must continue to pray for healing for the nations of the world, while praying for the eternal repose of the faithful departed.

Stay safe fam!

I’m out! See you on the other side of LENT.