Mukhtar Muhammad, the national incident manager of the presidential taskforce on COVID-19, says another lockdown is possible if every other COVID-19 prevention measure fails.
In the past weeks, there has been a rise in the cases of COVID-19 in the country.
So far, Nigeria has recorded 133,552 cases of the infection. While 107,551 patients have been discharged, 1,613 have died, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari signed new regulations as a measure to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Speaking with TheCable, Muhammad said as far back as August, there were concerns that the number of cases would rise if prevention protocol was not obeyed.
“If we had intensified the activities, there were strong suggestions at the time, where we suggested that only if we can enforce using face masks for the last three months of 2020, perhaps that may keep COVID-19 to a very low level, but that was not taken,” the manager said.
“So certainly the second wave started rising because of our behaviour, we opened all the public places, in fact even the places we said should not have opened; the restaurants started providing eat-in services, night clubs opened, gyms, everywhere they opened.
“That was what was responsible, our neglect and lowering the precaution measures we had taken.”
The incident manager said there might be another lockdown if other COVID-19 protocol fails to mitigate the transmission of the disease.
“So it is unlikely unless it becomes absolutely necessary we will not be doing a total lockdown. What we are doing now is to enforce these restrictions and see that people comply,” he said.
“To put in enforcement, we have mobile courts. When you put in enforcement, compliance tends to be higher. So we hope that this will drastically reduce the rate of infection.
“We are not thinking of total lockdown for now but it is not completely off the table. It may be possible if all things fail.
“So the regulations that are put in place will help to reduce the transmission. If you have everybody wearing masks before they go out or go to the market, that will reduce the chances of them getting infected and if they are the ones that are infected, it will reduce the chance of infecting other people around.
“If you have less people gathering in an enclosed space that will also reduce the rate of transmission.”
Muhammad said to “some extent” Nigeria is ready for the next epidemic or pandemic.
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