COVID-19: President Buhari decides as lockdown extension drama unfolds

April 13, 2020
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President Muhammadu Buhari will today, April 13 address the nation at 7 pm, and he’s expected to give updates on the Coronavirus pandemic as well as measures put in place by his administration to curb the spread of the disease.

Of particular interest to Nigerians is the possibility of an extension of the lockdown currently in place which has almost crippled the economy, especially SMEs in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja where the lockdown is more enforced.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on March 29, ordered an initial lockdown for 14 days in Lagos, Ogun and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as one of the measures aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus disease.

Just before the President’s pronouncement, Nigeria had 111 confirmed cases with only 1 death and spread across 11 states and the FCT. The average growth rate for confirmed cases before the announcement was about 4 cases a day. Consequently, this has risen to 323 cases confirmed cases with 10 deaths spread across 19 states and the FCT.

The average growth rate for confirmed cases as at April 11 is about 14 cases a day.

There has been discussion as to whether the lockdown and restrictions should stop at the expiration of the initially stated time or should be extended so as to give more time for the containment of the disease, which seems to be spreading at a faster rate.

However, the facts on ground, especially with sharp increase in confirmed cases, suggest that the government might not be relaxing the lockdown or restrictions anytime soon.

Nigerians, especially those living in Lagos State, Ogun State and the FCT, have been very apprehensive and critical of the likely extension of the lockdown. They had complained of distress and hunger, as their daily means of livelihood have been taken away from them without any palliatives.

Over the weekend, there were reported cases of armed robbery and criminal activities by hoodlums in some parts of Lagos and Ogun States as the negative effect of this lockdown and restrictions continue to set in.

Since the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was first confirmed in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December 2019, the cases have spread to a lot of countries around the world as no continent has been spared.

The disease has since been declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the number of confirmed cases globally has risen to 1,835,373 with 113,361 deaths and 381,429 recoveries as at April 12, 2020. This is just as the confirmed cases in Africa have risen to over 13,600 with 742 deaths and 2,358 recoveries as of April 12, 2020.

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