Abuja: Schools, Churches And Mosques Should Open From 1/08/2020, Same Goes For All Workers - Opinion
President Muhammadu Buhari
Following the coronavirus outbreak in China in December last year, government around the world have been coming out with one recommendation or the other to see how the rate of the infection can be mitigated. In this line, President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the total lockdown of Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory. However, the lockdown has been eased by the president but schools, religious gatherings airports and social gatherings remained closed nationwide, while state governments are given the privilege to make some changes to suit their unique circumstances provided they maintain alignment with the guidelines issued on public health and hygiene.
@tellmeall50 has been studying the effectiveness of such restriction order across the country for sometime now. Based on our findings, such restriction orders, unfortunately, have not yielded the desired results, as the number of COVID-19 cases is still on the rise. As at yesterday 15th July, 2020 the total confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigerian was 34259.
Another serious issue is the devastating impact of the restriction order on the economy. For example, the the Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed in late March this year, issued a warning that the Nigerian economic will soon face recession, she added that what the government was trying to do was to make sure the impact of the recession is not severe. As if that is not enough the federal government, citing health risk, has also announced the indefinite suspension of the reopening of schools, as a result of that all secondary school under the control of the federal government will not participate in the upcoming WAEC. Private school teachers have not received salaries since this year and some of them are married with children and also have house rent and other bills to pay
Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed
However, I believe the purpose why the government is making such decision is because they want to protect the citizens of this country, unfortunately the outcome so fare has not been good enough. There is this popular saying that, the only thing that is constant in life is change. I believe it's about time we made drastic changes in our approach in fighting the scourge of the virus.
From our study so far we have observed that two states in Nigerian where restriction order are strictly enforced still have higher rate of coronavirus infection than other states in the country. The two states in Nigerian where restriction order have been strictly enforced are Lagos and Abuja (FCT)
To simplify our point we are using Lagos State as an example. Before lockdown in Lagos State, the cases of coronavirus increased from 1 case on the 27th of February to 44 on the 27th of March, which is a period of one month. But after President Muhammadu Buhari announced lockdown in Lagos and Ogun States as well as the FCT, that of Lagos over a period of another one month increased from 44 cases as at 27th of March to 764 cases on the 27th of April. As at yesterday Lagos State had the highest COVID-19 cases in Nigerian, with 12941 cases, followed by Abuja with 2738 cases. There is virtually no sine of any decline in spite of initially being on lockdown, present restrictions and all the enforcement by military officers and police personnel
It is then obvious that there is no much significant improvement in the rate of coronavirus infection, in states with strict lockdown and restriction of movements. However, one thing is certain - the decline in our economy.
Based on the above premises, I here by recommend that the federal government should implement the following in Abuja, as a case study for the reopening of the country's economy
1. Lift the restriction order in Abuja and all private and government workers should resume work from 1st of August, 2020
2. All religious centres should open for worship from same date as workers.
2. All schools, from primary schools to university should resume classes same date as workers.
3. All private school teachers should be paid 300 thousand naira each by the federal government, for them to offset their bills.
4. During this period, everybody should continue to maintain social distancing rules. For workers, all staff must be on face mask before they are allowed into the office and their seat must be properly separated. For religious centres, imams, pastors and their members must be on face mask. The same thing should go fall all students, all students must be on face mask and must be educated from time to time on how to protect themselves from the virus.
5. During this period mass testing should be done regularly and the rate of infection and deaths should be recorded for a period of one month, and the result obtained should be compared with the result obtained from the rate of infection and death in the month of July, if there is no significant difference between the two results obtained from both months or if that of August is lower than that of July, then all normal activities should continue in Abuja while all the states across the country would follow suit.
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This is just my personal opinion or suggestion in the fight against the dreaded coronavirus and at the same time the reopening of the nation's economy to prevent economic catastrophe. If you have any other suggestions you are free to contribute by making a comment below.
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