Following the outbreak of the Corona Virus in People's Republic of China in December 2019/January 2020, Nigeria did not have to wait too long for her first case of Corona Virus to be recorded as an Italian who works in Nigeria imported the dreaded viral disease to the country on the 27th of February 2020. He was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
After this first case, several others began to surface thereby sending shivers of fears down our spines. Immediately, the government swung into action to curtail the eventual spread of the virus. The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the government's agency set up to tackle disease outbreaks and other relevant health issues was at the forefront of the struggle against the dreaded virus.
The confirmation of these Corona Virus cases actually put paid to all hitherto theories and consolations, maybe (as our health care system is known to be in a sorry and deplorable state), being peddled about that the dreaded virus would not find its way to "Naija". Thus, Nigeria was plunged into the attendant effects of the nCov-19 pandemic. Suffice to say that the country is yet to climb out of the ditch it was plunged into.
Hand Washing Spots Set Up
Measures put in place to curb the spread included declaring lockdown (partial and total), usage of nose covers, avoiding crowded areas, fumigation, maintaining healthy and clean environment and regular washing of hands. It is needful to say that some people got used to these new ways of existence that till today, they no longer offer or receive handshakes from others, for example.
Typical Nose Cover Recommend For Use Due To The Pandemic
Keeping in line with the scope of this write up, the impact of the Corona Virus pandemic in Nigeria would be looked into as succinctly as necessary. The areas to be addressed are Nigeria's economy, business and way of life.
As stated earlier, Nigeria was plunged into a real mess by the ravaging virus such that her economy suffered external shocks as highlighted by the weakened demand for oil and a global recession.
The drastic drop in demand for oil in the international market increased Nigeria's economic woes during the pandemic as oil prices were reduced beyond normalcy. For example, a report has it that the United States slashed its Nigerian crude oil imports by 11.67 million barrels in the first five months of 2020.
According to a journal in PMC (PubMed Central®), a free full text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature, national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined sharply during the lockdown periods by a whooping 11 billion US dollars. This drop was as a result of the reduced economic activities resulting from the lockdown policy implemented in almost all states of the federation.
Job losses were prevalent during the pandemic as significant unemployment cases could be traced to the effect of Covid-19. A Nigerian COVID-19 National Longitudinal Phone Survey carried out by the National Bureau of Statistics with support from the World Bank revealed job losses at several stages of the survey. For a better understanding, the full report can be accessed here.
Fumigating Machines Procured By The Lagos State Government
As government counted their losses, so also businesses were adversely affected. The lockdown measures imposed across the country really told on businesses (both small and large scale). Restrictions on movements forced transport businesses to close shops as inter and intra state travels were banned.
Flights were prohibited to and from the Nigeria Ari Space. Hospitality business also got a direct hit as government banned them from operating. There was even an incident in Rivers state where a hotel was pulled down by the government for flouting the lockdown rule. It was that serious.
Street Fumigation In An European City To Curb The Spread Of The Corona Virus
There were some positives derived from the pandemic. Some swift-thinking and innovative tailors amassed adequate income from the production and sales of nose covers which was mandatory for use then. As a result of the lockdown, delivery services became the order of the day for most business owners.
Stylish Nose Masks Produced From Local Fabrics
Small food businesses were established in houses in neighbourhoods where orders are placed, mainly online, for raw foodstuffs, cooked meals and the likes. Fruits, smoothies, small chops, etc. were produced and delivered. Online business transactions (especially sales) was well embraced, owing to the ravaging pandemic.
Social media influencers promoted their brands to a much larger audience as everyone was forced to stay at home and invariably glued to television broadcasts, radio programmes and Internet surfing.
In respect to the way of life of the average Nigerian, it can be said that the pandemic had remarkable positive effects. It is known that Corona Virus jolted everyone back to normalcy with its lessons. One of the basic lessons people were made to learn was the need to be prudent in terms of finances.
We are very wasteful in this part of the world, to be candid. From simple birthdays celebrations to full fledged parties, we tend to showcase our wealth and unwarranted importance to our fellows. As a result of the lockdown, throwing parties such as marriage and burial ceremonies, house warming, harvests celebration in church, to mention a few were banned.
The hitherto wasteful Nigerian was forced to conduct marriage ceremonies with a total guest of 5 (haha!). The dead were buried with the required solemnity rightly deserving of such an occasion. Generally, frivolities were drastically as at then.
During the pandemic, spouses reconnected appreciably. Marriages were healed, homes received what they had been lacking before - laughter, fun, happiness, etc. Husbands were made to stay at home as against hanging out with friends in club houses at the detriment of their homes. New ideas were thought out while new ways of doing things and accomplishing goals were birthed.
We even learnt that worship could be done at home and not necessarily in the church. Messages were streamed online for weeks as gathering in churches or mosques were prohibited. The basic knowledge required to understand God was well wrought on the willing individual owing to renewed zeal to personally "Search the Scriptures".
Church Attendance During The Lockdown
It was during this period that subsistence farming sprang up in most households who could afford adequate farming space around them. Few households even tried Animal Husbandry. This also led to self sustenance and improved knowledge of Independence.
In whole, there was a general "reset" of thinking pattern, lifestyles, norms and habits. Cleanliness was preached and practiced for fear of contacting the virus. Life was more valued as reports continued to surface of deaths due to Corona Virus.
In Italy, Spain and the US, cases skyrocketed with deaths running to millions. Merely reading about these horrific figures on the Internet, one cannot but feel for those affected and say a prayer of thanks to The Almighty for the gift of life.
At the moment, Nigeria has returned to her chaotic state. No more lockdown. Even though the virus is still being detected in people, it is no longer dreaded. Consequently, the regular hustle and bustle in Lagos and in all major cities have since returned.
Current Corona Virus Situation In The Country
Churches now operate as before, the markets are full blown, hotels, night clubs, recreation joints and schools are now open and running as before. The "Owanbe" parties have resurfaced (I still attended one on Saturday April 24) while the dead are now buried in noise, large spendings and fun fare as before the pandemic.
Nigerian Parties After The Lockdown
In all these, nothing wey man go talk other than to say " it is well with Nigeria". Amen!
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