Before now Lagosians are exceedingly caring and they show concern when people show an unusual level of discomfort in public, they either comfort such person with words of compassion or offer physical or financial assistance but such act of kindness is fast-eroding in the public space with the way people now see those who display an innocuous strain of discomfort in public as a potential and existential threat to their existence. This disruption of human relationships is engendered by precautionary measures that, according to medical experts, is needed to be impervious to the dreadful Coronavirus.
On the popular video-sharing social media platform, Tic Tok, there are two vidéos I came across, one of which was video of people in an office environment with one of the staff trying to greet a colleague by stretching his hand for a handshake but the colleague did not take his hand, he instead jutted out his elbow and, in what appeared to be a spontaneous but planned gesture, the staff who initially offered a handshake did the same and they both slightly rub elbows. Also in the same video, two female colleagues were, instead of giving each other a warm hug, seen slightly raising their right feet and gently hitting them against one another. These two actions appear to be a plausible alternative to the conventional way of exchanging pleasantries.
The second video was that of the renowned South African born US comedian and TV host, Trevor Noah, TV show, known as a daily show. In the video his co-host who was seen to be enlightening the audience about the danger of coronavirus was himself seen to be exhibiting what appears to be one of the deadly symptoms of the disease; incessant coughing and Noah in his ever ebullient manner brought out what looked like a spray to disinfect the studio which ignited laugh from the audience in the studio and the viewers.
This two videos might have elicited laugh because of the twinge of hilarity that’s inherent in them but on the flip side, these videos further explicitly underscore the graveness of the situation and the existential threat that the outbreak of coronavirus poses to our current reality and the human race as a whole
The coronavirus has to be the most devastating and malignant ailment in the modern history of mankind. After it broke out in China province of Wuhan the virus has killed more than 3000 people with over 80,000 infected in more than 63 countries. In South Korea for instance, authorities in the country have accused a religious body of contributing to the spread of the disease after it failed to Halt religious gathering despite warnings from the government to do so. Also on the economic front, the virus unleashed its vicious fang as the Brent crude oil price plummeted last week bringing it to less than $50 per barrel which is the lowest in nearly two years.
CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations Dr. Richard Hatchett explains the long-term dangers of COVID-19. He said it’s the scariest outbreak he’s dealt with in his 20-year career. He compared the disease to a raging war.
‘War is an appropriate analogy’ He Opined.
The Nigerian lower chamber, the house of representatives, in a move that’s been widely criticized, announced on Wednesday that it had resolved to suspend plenary for two weeks because of the disease. It cited inadequate measures to curtail the spread of the disease and unpreparedness of the hallowed chamber to tackle such disease in the event that spreads to it as the reasons.
“suspension of the plenary is needless” Mrs. Adamson Zainab, chief matron and consultant at Ifako Ìjàyè General hospital, Lagos told me “such move will only instill fear in the mind of the public. It will create panic.
“What the legislative body should have done is to liaise with concerned agencies and stakeholders on the ideal move to make instead of unilaterally coming up with a resolution that will drive trepidation in the public. The members of the House should be seen, at a time like this, making moves that will instill confidence in the people and make them see that their safety is the priority of the government”
The virus is not only taking its toll on health and medical aspects of the human race but it has spread its malevolent tentacles to another sphere of human endeavor and activities. From education to business to economy to religion and to social arrangements and basic tenets of human relationship.
One such instance is the refrain from handshake as a form of pleasantries exchanged.
“I have stopped shaking my friends and customer” a hairstylist simply known as sanjo at Dopemu, a sprawling suburb of Lagos, to me “and they didn’t take it personally, they understand that it’s for their own good and everyone around them, and I’ve also put in place measures that will reduce body contact in my salon.
“I’m not an alarmist,” he said “I just feel it is far better to prevent the disease than to let people contract and start running helter-skelter, and besides my customers are my priority”
Sanjo is not the only one who’s going all out to curtail the spread of the dreadful disease even going as far as eschewing the practice of a conventional and long-standing basic human form of engagement. Most small business owners and individuals have imitated the actions of Sanjo.
After the black gate that leads to the oblong-shaped one-story building — on whose wall, high up, hangs a neon light that illuminates the name of the school, Chloeville — is a tap, a washing hand basin and a hand sanitizer that’s fixed on the wall of the edifice that housed a row of classrooms.
the tap is strategically placed so that anyone coming into the building will have to wash their hands. + “It has been there before the outbreak of the Coronavirus, it is part of the measures we put in place to fight germs and disease” the proprietress of this lush mid-class primary school, in sprawling Lagos suburb, who simply identified herself as Funke, told me “we take the health of our kids seriously, it is one our hallmarks and what enamored us to people”
The Lagos state government has hinted that public gathering might be suspended if there is potential risk of spread of the disease in the state, which might affect education and other vital sector.
But Funke explained that Coronavirus has not in any way inhibited the learning process but they are more vigilant now than ever in watching out for the slightest symptoms of fever and putting in place arrangements that would subdue the obstreperous disposition of kids which could lead to physical contacts.
“The situation is not dire, so there’s no need to panic” doctor at Lagos state university of Lagos teaching hospital, a Mr. Issac Adekanmbi, said ” There is no need to create unnecessary fear in public as the government is on top of the situation and the measures they have put in place are yielding positive result. From the screening at the airport to the creation of isolation at strategic locations across the country. It is a proactive tendency of the government that’s helped in checking the degeneration of the situation into a sickening one”
He said contrary to the popular perception the disease is not a killer one and that with early diagnosis and proper care a victim could be healed. He, however, mentioned that the senile elder and those who have history of health challenges are more susceptible to being killed by the virus.
Nigeria recorded its first case of the virus after an Italian who flew into the country from Milan, which has the highest case in Europe, tested positive for the disease. The news sends trepidation down the spine of citizens as the country became apprehensive and tremulous, but the ministry of health in collaboration with the Lagos state government has done everything humanly possible to make sure the disease does not spread and further add the woes of a country that’s being bludgeoned by different sorts of conundrum on every front.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) with the foresight, intelligence and astuteness of its Director-General, Chike Ihekweazu, and his team have done a tremendous job in making sure the disease does not gain a foothold in the country, from unceasing research for the cure of the disease to timely and up to date situation report of what the government and concerned stakeholders are to forestall the spread of the disease.