Covid-19: Tackling second wave in FCT
Towards the third quarter of 2020, many countries around the world began lifting ban on public gathering, physical meetings and other restrictions initially put in place to check the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome, the coronavirus.
This decision, many nations had justified owing to the decline in the number of positive cases recorded at the time. The drastic turn of event across the globe has however raised the question if indeed the decision to lift the ban was not early, with many worried about a possible second wave of the spread of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
Ab initio, these restrictions were imposed to mitigate the spread of the pandemic usually with the broad support of affected populations.
Before now, medical experts have raised the alarm that the second wave tends to have a higher peak than the first wave when the efficacy of restrictions is greater than 40 percent. It is therefore not surprising, that many countries have recorded more casualties than the first wave since the lifting of restrictions.
Already in Nigeria, the number of Covid-19 cases recorded in the past three weeks may be an indication that a second wave of the outbreak may already be upon us, and if something is not done urgently, there are clear indications that the country is at risk of losing not only the gains recorded in combating the virus during the first wave, but also the lives of citizens.
As at Friday, a total of 97,478 cases of Covid-19 have been diagnosed in Nigeria with 1342 deaths so far recorded from the virus.
To buttress this point, Health Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, a week ago stated that Nigeria is potentially in a “difficult phase of the Covid-19 resurgence.”
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha, said the events and statistics of recent weeks within and outside Nigeria have confirmed that we have entered the most difficult phase of the pandemic.
The development was however greeted with very mixed feelings as on the one hand, there is the cheering news of the Covid-Vaccine while on the other hand, we have witnessed spikes in number of infections at home and abroad.
“The real threat is upon humanity and the progress made in the global health sector in the last five decades or more, “he stated.
The Federal Capital Territory, one of the epic centres is yet to recover from the tremendous toll on the financial resources of the territory occasioned by the pandemic. Precisely on December 1, 2020, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Bello, informed the Senate Committee on FCT that the administration had spent N28.5 billion on sundry activities to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, especially during the lockdown.
Bello said the fund was spent on provision of security services, provision of palliatives for indigent residents, as well as assisting neighbouring states who were distressed. This makes the system to suffer terrible blow as almost all the areas of the budget were slashed by 50 percent, except areas that has direct bearing on human lives such as school feeding programme, salaries, grants, among others.
To avoid a repeat of this ugly situation, the FCT Administration must do everything humanly possible to tackle/mitigate the spread of the disease in this second wave because accessing the hope offered by the arrival of the vaccine is still some time ahead.
It is therefore, the view of this paper that the Administration must reinforced the Ministerial Task Team on the enforcement of laid down protocols by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, with a view to flattening the curve in this second wave as the number of affected person is growing astronomically by the day.
It is instructive to note that the concept of “flattening the curve” comes from model outputs that show how reducing the transmission rate through efforts such as contact tracing and physical distancing can lower and delay the epidemic peak. The transmission and control of the pandemic show that physical distancing and wearing of face mask can mitigate the disease and this has subsequently been backed up by empirical analyses of case notification data.
Like the PTF advised, if we do the right things, adhere to the NPIs and step up our testing and detection, loss of lives will be minimized and the rising curve will begin to flatten out. There is therefore the need to escalate our risk communication and community engagement strategies to higher levels in order to slow down the pace of the spread of the virus.
Therefore, it is the duty of residents, traditional rulers, faith based organisations and other critical stakeholders to demonstrate purposeful partnership by cooperating with the Ministerial Task Team and other frontline workers by observing all established protocols of Covid-19.
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