Tackling COVID-19: The Need for a Nigerian Response

The coronavirus is a human tragedy that is now affecting over a million people around the globe. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020. It indicated with certainty that the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) will spread to all parts of the world and pointed out that all governments, businesses, and individuals had the ability to change the disease’s trajectory. The pandemic continues to expand; more than 209 countries and territories have reported cases of COVID -19. As of April 14, case growth has accelerated to more than 1.5 million cases – Death: 125,623 - Recovered: 466,948. Some countries have a handful of cases, others with early community transmission have a few hundred, and those with uncontrolled, widespread transmission have tens of thousands. Governments all over the world have launched unprecedented public-health and economic responses. In Nigeria, as at April 14, the coronavirus has so far infected 373 people, 99 discharged and 11 people have died. Since Nigeria confirmed its index case on 27th of February, 2020, several measures have been taken by the federal government targeted at curbing the spread of the virus. These were based on best practices as part of the measures implemented in China, Europe and the US. A Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 was established on 18 March by President Buhari chaired by the secretary to the government of the federation, Mr Boss Mustapha. The task force developed a strategy that has resulted in restrictions on travel to and from 15 high infected countries; closure of land, sea and air points of entry and the expansion of the national testing capacity from 500 per day to 1500 per day. The government also suspended activities at the domestic airports by stopping the movement of commercial flights. The government also encouraged inter-state restrictions on road or sea transportation by imposing a lockdown for 14-days in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun states. Consequently, many other state governments adhered to this as a measure to contain the virus spread.