An Abuja-based doctor Zainab Suleiman has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to reconsider the relaxation of the lockdown amid COVID-19 spread.
She stated this in an open letter forwarded to Mr President on May 5, 2020.
“I consider it expedient to write you this letter in the light of recent happenings around the world and in our nation.
“Since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic in December 2019, things have unprecedentedly turned around globally, accelerating in the written order.”
On the role played by the Federal Government in the fight against the pandemic, Suleiman said: “First, I would like to take this opportunity to commend you and the government for the decisive steps taken to curb and manage the spread of this Covid-19 pandemic.
”I also would like to commend you for engaging our healthcare providers in our country, and recommend that the Minister for Health, Dr Osagie Emmanuel Ehanire and the Director General for Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu continue to engage the members of the health ministry and the public in a bid to find lasting solutions to the hydra-headed monster ravaging us in this trying time.
“As a concerned Nigeria, I am in agreement with your assessment, as indicated in your recent press releases, that there are some areas of critical focus as we move forward in curbing this pandemic in Nigeria.
”Your Excellency, I would also like us to be abreasted with the banes and consequences that could arise from the recent relaxation of the lockdown across the country.
Permit me to take a cue from countries like the United Kingdom, United States of America, and many other countries that are currently in some degree of “lockdown,” with restaurants and bars, shops, schools and gyms closed, and citizens required, or at least strongly encouraged, to stay home to avoid catching or spreading COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus,” she added.
On the easing of the lockdown, the doctor said: “The recent lift of ban of the lockdown in Nigeria is going to cause the country and its citizenry more harm than the intended good, the suffering of having the virus to reproduce and since populations get mixed, there will be high tendencies of infections among people.
We wouldn’t need a prophet to tell us that with the relaxation of the lockdown and social distancing measures, we can expect high infected rate and peak mortality in approximately three months.”
According to her; “In this scenario, a larger population would be infected, with people coming together since most of the people are asymptomatic to the hydra-headed monster.
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“Lagos state, with a population estimated at 21 million recently relaxed their lockdown and the effect it had on the people wasn’t encouraging. Lagosians were seen trooping in droves to banking halls for one transaction or the other.
“It was indeed a stampede. Some were seen collapsing in the heat of the stampede and the news making rounds showed a man who was allegedly to be having clear-indicating symptoms of the Coronavirus being carried away by officials of one the banks. This said man would have mingled with countless number of people in the crowd before he passed out.
“Other similar instances were seen and recorded in Enugu and other states.
“Your Excellency, the suppression, or basically, lockdown, which aims to reverse epidemic growth,
reducing case numbers to low levels by social distancing the entire population indefinitely and closing schools and most commercial activities is still the surest and only way to curtail the hydra-headed monster to its barest minimum.
“Third, an intensified public health response to slow down and reduce infections should be put in place.
Similarly, the need for a comprehensive package of economic support measures to assist businesses and individuals affected by the pandemic should also be of high premium. A programme of increased social support to protect poor and vulnerable households.
“The focus of my statement, Mr President, is the second and third areas.
“Mr President, we all know that without some of these desperately needed measures for the poor, they will most certainly fall further into destitution. Many others will most certainly suffer job losses on a large scale, with falling incomes and businesses closing, this situation will simply become critically untenable.
Our government must ensure food security and food sovereignty through a coordinated and safe roll-out of food packages in food-stressed neighbourhoods; and furthermore ensure free mobile data and public internet access, to keep the public informed.
“We must do this not because we are worried about poor communities protesting and causing havoc on our streets, Mr President, but because this is the right thing to do.
“Your Excellency, I remain confident that as your good government considers all options open to them, this proposal will also receive the necessary consideration.
“I would like to take this opportunity to again say thank you to you and the team for a sterling job and for providing the nation with the requisite leadership in this very trying time. I also want to agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments that indeed, we shall recover. We shall overcome,” she concluded.