COVID-19: Academy of Science president calls for nation’s lockdown

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Prof. Mosto Onuoha

THE Nigerian Academy of Science has called for a lockdown of the country for one month, saying it will help reduce transmission of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

Its President, Prof. Mosto Onuoha, made the call on Wednesday in Lagos, saying it would give time for case management and recoveries.

Onuoha noted regrettably, that Nigeria had during the last one week, seen a dramatic increase in the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases.

“It stands at 44 as at the time of writing this release. It is now time for a national lockdown, especially now that the disease has invaded the highest level of our governance threatening our national security.

“While the effort of individual state governments is lauded, the lockdown should be national, with uniform regulations, and led by the Federal Government.

“With a lockdown, all citizens are required as much as possible to stay at home leaving room only for essential activities that allow for basic functions such as feeding and accessing healthcare,” he said in a statement.

Onuoha said that though, most of the confirmed cases were imported, with a few more being contacts of the imported cases, the country was beginning to have cases with unclear infection sources.

“This suggests the possible existence of community transmission and needs to be curtailed early.

“Though the government and its agencies are working hard at containment, there are reports of people failing to self-isolate as advised.

“This is complicated by the VIP syndrome that seems to characterise our country, with some refusing to be checked or to self-isolate on arrival into the country.

“It is also complicated when the conditions that exist in many of our urban slums is considered.

“It is normally very difficult to trace and monitor contacts in a country like Nigeria with difficulty in tracking addresses, phones; and this becomes increasingly difficult the more the contacts that have to be traced,” he said.

According to him, it is unclear how widespread the disease might be in the country given the evolving number of cases at this point, and the difficulty in tracking their movements and those of their contacts.

“A lock down for four weeks will help to reduce the number of new importations and provide the environment and condition for clear thinking and planning.

“In four weeks, virtually all COVID-19 cases and contacts should have been discovered or should have recovered,” the academy president said.

Onuoha said that the government should utilise the period of lock down to re-strategise on steps to guide against new importations of COVID-19 cases when it re-opens the borders.

He added that the strategies should also consider how to enforce self-isolation or quarantine across the nation, treatment modalities adoption and standardisation across the country.

“Which research areas and activities– drugs, equipment, containment measures, socio-economic recovery, should we fund?

“What innovative socio-economic safety nets can be provided for the citizens of this country to ameliorate the current and coming effects of this pandemic,” Onuoha said.

He said that the academy stands by the government and all Nigerians at this trying time.

Onuoha said citizens should understand that the measures that need to be taken were challenging, but necessary. (NAN)

– Mar. 25, 2020 @ 15:49 GMT |

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