Ignoring assurances from the Nigerian federal government, panic-stricken Nigerians and institutions are besieging pharmacy shops and markets to buy up sanitizers, face masks and digital handheld thermometre devices as part of the measures to protect themselves from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) ravaging the world.
COVID-19 was first diagnosed in Nigeria on Thursday.
This is as just as Nigeria has so far quarantined 28 persons in Ogun State, Southwest region of the country, who had contact with the 44-year-old Italian infected by the Coronavirus.
The government has also closed the sprawling Lafarge Cement Company, Ewekoro, Ogun State where the infected man went to do some work.
Ogun Governor, Mr Dapo Abiodun, told journalists that “the particular company in question has been practically shut down and they have set up two isolation centres within the premises. They have identified all those that have been in contact with this index, totalling about 28. All those 28 people have been quarantined.”
The Italian arrived onboard a Turkish Airways flight to Nigeria’s Murtala Muhammaed International Airport, Lagos on Monday evening. But he spent the night in a hotel around the airport area before before travelling on Tuesday morning to the cement factory where he is a Consultant. He fell ill at the factory and after diagnosis, he tested positive for the coronavirus. He was monitored and is now being treated in a specialized facility in Lagos.
Specifically, corporate organisations especially banks, religious worship centres and other places of mass gathering are making huge demands for the items, causing most of the pharmaceutical companies to run out of stock of the products.
The upsurge in demands for the products started Monday as the virus became a prominent issue of discuss when a Chinese national tested negative to the disease.
While it has not been scientifically proven that wearing face masks can prevent spread of the virus from an infected person, however it is common sight now in Nigeria to see people wearing it as preventive measures as they do in China where the virus originated from.
In some banks in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja, corporate organizations and even individuals are demanding bulk purchases of the sanitizers, face masks and digital handheld thermometer devices, which accounts for why products that are usually sold in small quantities have generally depleted in stock.
The banks, public and private offices and other business places are now screening people before they are allowed entry and those who refuse to be screened are politely turned away.
To stem the likelihood of further entry into Nigeria, former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the leading opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to stop all flights from countries facing coronavirus outbreak.
Atiku said that Nigeria should fight the disease the same way it was able to tackle the outbreak of Ebola in 2014, adding that since Buhari had been able to shut land borders to protect the economy, it would not be too difficult to stop flights from countries facing the coronavirus scourge.
According to him, “Nigeria must not panic, whether at government or individual levels. We have defeated Ebola before. We can defeat this present predicament.”