During the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens fully complied with the safety measures outlined by the WHO, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and State Task Force such as maintaining social distance, use of face mask, frequent hand washing and avoiding unnecessary visitation/travelling in order to curtail the spread of the virus.
However, with the ease of the lockdown, observation indicates that over 50% of residents in Maiduguri are violating some of the measures in public places such as markets, worship centres, public transport and ceremonies. But, it is interesting to note that people observe the safety measures in banks and some offices where it is mandatory for them to comply before gaining access.
A few residents were seen carrying out their daily activities without the use of facemasks, hand washing or maintaining social distancing of two meters in crowds. Some of the residents abuse the use of facemask as they use it in cars most especially when they are alone.
While in camps, reports indicate that COVID-19 is not the only threat facing people in Borno state, but its presence in Nigeria highlights the extreme vulnerability of many people who have already endured the horror of war, disease and malnutrition. For them, social distancing is an abstract luxury and frequent hand washing diminishes a precious resource, water, according to Doctors Without Borders. Thus, this implies that despite aid from the government and NGO’s, the shelter available in some camps is not favourable for social distancing or frequent hand washing considering the size of some family and the resources available to them.
Based on the guidelines outlined, full compliance can reduce the spread as well as cases recorded. Hence, safety for one is safety for all!
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