COVID-19: Why Nigerians Should Not Travel This Yuletide
NaijaNews Nigeria gathered that as Nigerians join the rest of the world to celebrate the availability of effective COVID-19 vaccines, human behaviour is expected to continue to drive the spread of the virus until the vaccines are widely available.
This online news medium understand that at least two of the COVID-19 vaccine candidates have been approved, they are not yet widely available, hence Nigerians need to appreciate that vaccine protection is a long process and that a vaccine is not a magic bullet that would make the infection disappear in an instant.
In the wake of the onset of the second wave infections in the country, the federal government has advised against all forms of non-essential travelling during the Christmas season as a measure to curtail a further transmission of the coronavirus.
However, findings by Good Health Weekly reveal that many Nigerians are going ahead with their travel plans despite the warning.
“Experts who spoke to GHW say a major factor to the containment of the pandemic is the adoption of cooperative behaviour towards the adoption of the recommended safety guidelines.
The experts who regretted the development said that even with the availability of vaccines, an effective strategy to combat and reduce the impact of COVID-19 is a behavioural one.
On Monday, 21st of December 2020, the total number of confirmed that COVID-19 cases globally topped 77.2 million with 1.7 million deaths according to worldometers.info even as the NCDC recorded 76,434 cases and 1,221 deaths in its daily update for Nigeria.
Respondents who spoke to Good Health Weekly regretted that not all Nigerians are taking the pandemic seriously. A renowned virologist, Prof. Oyewale Tomori who warned against travels during the Christmas season called for stricter policies.
“We need stricter policies, the message for the people now is that covid is not gone, it is still here,” he said.
“Tomori, who advocated that all entry ports into the country should be shut during the yuletide to contain further importation of the virus, urged Nigerians to heed the no travel advice of the federal government. “The virus travels with you, if you stay put, there would be no spread, so people should stay home. The problem is there and it is severe.
With the Christmas period coming up, people need to get the message right and take precautions. “Cover your nose and avoid gatherings. Obey the basic instructions. The disease is around and spreading and people are dying,” he said. Taiwo Oladele, an emergency nurse at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH called for the immediate banning of flights from abroad.
“There should be no travelling this Christmas season. People should stay where they are. The government should ban flights to and from the US and Europe particularly because that is where new cases are coming from. “While some of us are taking the matter seriously, many are joking with it, but whatever our attitude is, the truth is that we are all affected.
“An infection prevention expert also lamented the carefree attitude of many Nigerians. “Our attitude controls pandemic.
It is the things we hear, say, and do that are driving the pandemic. The way and manner that international health organizations, national governments, and individuals, particularly, respond to the pandemic are what makes all the difference.”
In her own view, Jane Okoro, a pharmacist explained that every single Nigerian should be concerned about the pandemic because everyone is at risk of infection. There are no boundaries to the coronavirus infection and so everyone is at risk, irrespective of who we are, whether we believe it is real or whether we are convinced that it is a scam.
Further, Jane observed that there was a simple solution to the problem. If we all followed the standard COVID-19 precautions, such as physical distancing, hand-washing, and mask-wearing, the spread of the virus would reduce drastically and there would be fewer new cases and deaths. “The ideal thing is to do the needful to prevent being infected.
Let us continue to wear our face masks whenever we are outdoors.
“We should embrace physical distancing, and adopt proper hand hygiene thorough hand-washing with soap and water or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers.“ Meanwhile, Nigeria has signed up with the Global Vaccine Alliance Initiative for access to vaccines, Gavi.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire who confirmed this in Abuja said the federal government has also registered for COVID-19 vaccines with the Global Access Programme, COVAX, co-led by the World Health Organisation.
However, many Nigerians who spoke to Good Health Weekly, have expressed worry over the quick procurement of the vaccine as promised by the federal government. Speaking on the issue, Ayobami Akintola COVID-19 vaccine is essential to reduce the spread of the virus.
“I think the arrival of vaccines will be a perfect yardstick to prevent the spread of the virus to a minimal level when it arrives.
We all hope proper procedures will be made for their availability.”
Another respondent, Akang Ubong, who expressed worry over the cost of the vaccines, said:-
“It would indeed be a bad thing for the vaccine to arrive in Nigeria, and then it is sold at a high cost.
Just the way COVID-19 tests have been handled, it shouldn’t be so with the vaccine.
“The cost for the COVID -19 test is too high and not everyone can afford it, especially those who are financially constrained.” He added that the vaccine should be tested and verified before it is given to Nigerians to avoid complications.