Tobi Aworinde, Abuja
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has warned the country to brace for the spread of coronavirus to more states.
The PUNCH reports that there have been a total of 407 confirmed cases in Lagos, FCT, Osun, Kano, Edo, Oyo, Ogun, Katsina, Bauchi, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom, Kwara, Delta, Ondo, Enugu, Ekiti, Rivers and Niger states.
The Director General of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, who appeared on Sunrise Daily, a live programme on Channels Television, on Thursday morning, noted however that the goal was to build a more efficient public health infrastructure.
Ihekweazu said, “What we are trying to achieve, and it’s very important for Nigerians to understand, is a landscape where we can continue our work in responding while we restart parts of the economy.
“We are responding to something at the moment across 22 states. But it will grow to almost every state in Nigeria. There is no reason it won’t. It is a respiratory virus.
“So, what we are trying to achieve right now in the short term is not to stop transmission because we know that will be very difficult to do. No country in the world has achieved that.”
He explained that even China had seen a reintroduction and a “slight increasing” number of outbreaks.
The NCDC boss added, “These are the efficiencies we are trying to achieve, so that by the time this lockdown ends, we are in a much better position to restart our lives. But life will never be the same and Nigerians need to prepare for a different type of life once the lockdown ends.
“We are not anticipating that in the next 10 days, we will get to zero (cases). We are anticipating that we will have a public health response that can work while, slowly, people start going about their small businesses.
“I don’t anticipate a situation where everything will be opened, schools, markets, airports, on the same day.”
Ihekweazu predicted a gradual, carefully calibrated reopening of the economy, and urged Nigerians to prepare for a change in behaviour in conducting their everyday business.
“Every business now should be preparing and thinking, ‘How do I run my business differently, how do I run my restaurant differently, and how do I organise my school and teaching differently in the context of COVID-19,” he added.