On Tuesday, 24th March 2020, the Prime Minister of India put the entire population of 1.3 billion people on a 3 weeks nationwide lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The sum of $2 billion was allocated for additional health care measures.
In Nigeria, the Lagos State Government alongside side a few other States, appear to be quite proactive in the way they are handling the issue but these laudable measures may not achieve much if the coronavirus is given an opportunity to spread. A stitch in time saves nine!
It is glaring to any discerning observer that a complete nationwide lock down is imminent. The experience of developed countries despite all their medical expertise, available personnel and existing state of the art medical equipment/facilities, became overwhelmed in a matter of days by the COVID-19 pandemic. They needed to take emergency measures to quickly expand their medical infrastructure. In Italy and Spain for example, deaths arising from confirmed cases of COVID-19 had reached an alarming rate and their Governments were forced to impose strict restrictions on the movement of their citizens since the virus spread easily based on human to human contacts. This was exactly what China did in Wuhan to stem the spread of COVID-19. This virus is anti-social and has challenged the way we live and socialize to the limits.
In our situation, I understand that 33 States do not have Labs to test for this novel coronavirus. Many of our teaching hospitals are grossly ill equipped. You can imagine that for the whole country, we have only a handful of ventilators. Indeed, how many isolation centres do we have? What is the capacity of the isolation centres? How ready and equipped are these isolation centres to confront this threat? These questions and many more cannot be easily answered. Our people are faced with an imminent danger of great magnitude and the Federal Government has to go beyond the piecemeal approach of some state governments to save lives. This is not the time to linger in indecision. Every day, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases are steadily increasing. We thank God and deeply appreciate the sacrifice of our medical personnel that has kept mortality figures at the lowest margin possible. This indeed is the Hand of God at work.
In view of the above, CLASFON Branches are advised to suspend their meetings and other planned programs for now while exploring other safe means of sustaining our vision. Let’s begin to come to terms with the present reality and challenge we are faced with.
I personally urge members in all our Branches to stay at home. Begin to prepare yourself and your family for the eventuality of a total lockdown of at least 2 weeks. The basic preventive protocol as advised should be observed to the letter. If you can, get enough food at home and avoid any frivolous spending. As government does its part, take personal responsibility for your life and those around you by doing your part. This will make the task of government a bit easier.
I don’t intend that we act out of fear or panic but wisdom is profitable to direct. Kindly disregard fake news and several conspiracy theories that will confuse you and compromise your defences. We need to do whatever we can to avert the imminent public health danger facing us all. If some of our own political leaders are already victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, it means it can befall any Nigerian.
As Christians, we are a people of power and praise because of the abundant grace of God. Let’s use faith to confront fear and use our common sense to act decisively to avert the real danger facing us even as we put our confidence and trust in the LORD to weather this storm. By the grace of God, there’s HELP ALL THE WAY. With A RIGHT HEART we can face this extraordinary challenge in times like this.
God bless and keep you.
Arome M. Okwori,