By Our Reporter
Findings by AfricaSTI have revealed that the new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that has hit Nigeria may be due to the negligent disposition of schools towards the adherence to personal and communal protocols for the prevention of the spread of thee virus.
It has emerged that schools in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and other parts of the country have not shown enough commitment towards COVID-19 testing and may have become complacent in the observance of the protocol, since the pandemic was flattened between September and end of November.
It has also been found that most schools who took steps in this direction, especially in the FCT only presented teachers for testing but not students. A rough estimation shows that only very few schools (about five percent) bother to present their students for testing, in which case the teachers are exempted.
“What we see in most cases is individuals coming on their own from schools when they feel unwell and not the school taking conscious step to test all their students and staff,” a senior laboratory staff of one of the tertiary hospitals in FCT told AfricaSTI.
It has also been found that most schools across the FCT have relaxed adherence to COVID-19 protocol. This, plus the lax compliance among the public has become a major concern as Nigeria battles to curb a new wave of the pandemic.
Nigeria may have entered the second phase of the COVID-19 pandemic as the country’s National Centre for Disease Control (NDCD) has reported consistent spikes in figures of people testing positive to the virus.
Experts are saying the new wave of the pandemic may be driven by non-compliance to safety protocols by schools. This, they say is most evident across schools in the country’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT), where some of the highest cases of new infections are being recorded.
On December 11, Nigeria recorded the highest cases of new infections with 796 cases across the country. According to the figures released by NCDC, FCT recorded the highest figure with 258 cases of the virus, while Lagos came second with 248, and Kaduna state in third position with 117. Prior to this time, the highest figure of new infections was 790, recorded in July.
In apparent confirmation of these findings, Dr. Josephine Okechukwu, a Director of Public Health at the FCT has raised the alarm, saying, “Nigerians are no longer adhering to the use of face mask, social distancing and physical distancing.”
Okechukwu who spoke exclusively to AfricaSTI.com from an isolation in Abuja where she is being treated for COVID-19 said Nigeria is headed for another crisis that could be more devastating.
While appealing for people to use the face mask and observe the protocol for prevention, she said, “In the next couple of months we’ll have another crisis. So, people should please start wearing their face mask and start maintaining social and physical distancing.”
The Director expressed particular concern about the festivities.
“We are going into the festive period of Christmas and New year. It is only God that will help us but we need to help ourselves because of what we are seeing now, especially with the way the cases are going up and the number of people that are coming down with the diseases,” she said.
According to records from NCDC, the number of new infections across the country hovered between 150 and 170 as at October when schools were asked to resume. The figures, however, started mounting in the first week of December, rising to an all-time high record of 796 new cases on 11th of December. As at Sunday, 13th of December 2020, 418 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria. This brings the total number of confirmed cases recorded in Nigeria so far to 73,175 out of which 66,090 cases have been successfully treated and discharged. Meanwhile, 1,197 deaths have been recorded across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.