COUNTRIES INTENDING to lift the coronavirus lockdown on their citizens, to prevent the spread of the disease, must be guided by conditions on the new guidelines released by World Health Organisation, WHO, on Thursday. Tedros Abhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, during his weekly briefing to Diplomats based in Geneva, said easing the social and economic “curbs must be done extremely carefully.”
Ghebreyesus warned that: “If done too quickly, we risk a resurgence that could be even worse than our present situation.” WHO’s new guidelines stated that governments must ensure that the spread of coronavirus is under control. That National Health System – equivalent to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, must find, test, isolate and treat every new case. And all recent social contacts of every infected person must be tracked.
WHO stated that health authorities must know the origin of every single case and cluster of infections. Countries that intend to ease their lockdown must minimise infection risks in “hot spot” setting, such as hospitals and nursing homes. Preventive measures must be in place in work places, schools and other essential locations.
Physical distancing, hygiene etiquette and temperature measurements should be in place. Such countries, must manage the risk of importing new cases from abroad, by detecting infected travellers, and quarantining those who arrive from hot spot countries.
The guidelines further stated that: “communities are fully educated, engaged and empowered to adjust to the ‘new norm’” of behaving in ways that prevent new infections.
On Monday, President Buhari extended the initial 14 days lockdown he announced, on March 29, on Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, Lagos; neighbouring Ogun State; and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; for additional 14 days, to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country.
With WHO’s present guidelines, it is uncertain, what decision Nigerian government, and State Governors who have taken similar decision, will take on the lockdown, at the expiration of the lockdown period. There are rising cases of coronavirus in Lagos, Ogun and FTC, and in other states.