OPINION: COVID19 NATIONWIDE LOCKDOWN: HUNGER OR CORONAVIRUS – SELECT ONE

STOPPING COVID-19 VIA A NATIONWIDE LOCKDOWN IN NIGERIA.

There is no doubt that we need to do something drastic to stem the tide of CoronaVirus in Nigeria but can we do a nationwide shutdown without creating more problem.

Hunger is the major obstacle to a successful shutdown.

STOPPING COVID-19 VIA A NATIONWIDE LOCKDOWN IN NIGERIA

In a population of 200M where the majority of the people’s dinner comes from what they earn during lunch and lunch comes from earnings during breakfast. The physiological needs (food & water) of a large section of our society will be threatened if the lockdown is arbitrary.

 

The high and middle-income earners will be able to satisfy their immediate need for food in a shutdown. The next need is safety which is what the shutdown will address but the food need of millions of poor Nigerians may derail the safety need of all.

 

The problem is if those at the bottom of the Economic ladder are left without a solution to their food need, they won’t.

1. Follow any instruction regarding the shutdown thereby exacerbate the spreading of COVID-19 since they will keep moving around in search of their daily bread.

 

2. Constitute a security risk to the middle-income earners – If they have nothing to eat, they will eat anything in their way and become a security threat to those in the middle since the upper class will be protected by some in the middle.

 

Medical experts are warning us of impending doom if we don’t shut the country down to slow the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, we must profer a solution for the food need of the poor during the shutdown.

The cost of providing basic food relief in time of need for roughly 25 Million households will be well over N300B for 1 month before other costs are considered.

Can we afford to commit N500B to the shutdown? If yes then what are we waiting for? If no, what can we do?

 

We have a few options:

First is to quarantine all positive cases and their contacts. This sounds like the most affordable method but getting all the suspected contacts will pose a challenge going by the irresponsible attitude of some of the returnees from infected countries.

 

Another option is to test and quarantine all positive cases. Test all suspect contacts and quarantine all positives. This will work if we can trace almost all the contacts. The problem is that we might not have enough test kits.

 

Next and what IMO is the most practicable and cost-effective method is to focus on locking down states with higher numbers of positive and suspected contacts. And in some states, it may just be a shutdown of specific LG’s.  Lagos, Ogun and Abuja Some LG’s in states with few cases

Although it is quite expensive, locking down the whole country will be the best option. It will take a lot of creativity and heavy-handedness to shut down Nigeria to prevent the spread of CoronaVirus.

Locking down a few states lightened the load on the States and FGN. It is more affordable but it is not as effective as locking down the whole country.

Whatever we do going forward, a stitch in time saves nine. The super-rich will be fine.

The middle must find a way to support the poor before the poor consume the middle in a spate of anger.

HUNGER OR CORONAVIRUS – SELECT ONE.

THIS ARTICLE “STOPPING COVID-19 VIA A NATIONWIDE LOCKDOWN” WAS WRITTEN BY:

 

Waheed Alabede

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