Customers wait outside Access Bank branch

By OBINNA EZUGWU

Finally free from one month of complete lock down, residents of Lagos State on Monday ignored Coronavirus as they trooped out in their numbers to savour a certain new found freedom. But the consequence may prove disastrous.

Recent days have seen rapid rise in the cases of the ravaging global pandemic, with Lagos, Abuja and Kano leading the pack on the list of infection numbers.

From tens to a few hundreds only days ago, cases of Coronavirus in the country have suddenly jumped to 2558, with 87 deaths already recorded officially, even as it’s been confirmed that the recent mysterious deaths in Kano, which has seen nearly 700 people die in a matter of two weeks, is linked to the virus.

With the rising cases of infections, easing lock downs which were instituted when cases were much less would have seemed like reverse logic. But with the economy in tailspin and hunger and frustration threatening to unleash even more mayhem than the virus, the government had little choice but to toe the path of easing movement restrictions, with specific guidelines on how to move about as issued by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), such as compulsory wearing of face masks and maintaining distancing in public buses.

But it was always going to be difficult in a densely populated state as Lagos. And in a situation where, despite the overwhelming evidence of the devastating impact of the virus, many still think it’s some kind of joke.

Thus with the ease of lock down, thousands trooped into streets, banks and markets of Lagos sometimes without masks. While the police where largely successful in turning back those without face masks in Abuja, the Lagos crowd proved overwhelming. And indeed, even with masks, the purpose may in the end, be defeated when the populace see wearing masks as only obeying government directive as opposed to taking precautionary measures.

The distancing guidelines of the government were for the most part, observed in breach, observations showed. At Iyana Oworo area of Lagos, the threat of rain meant that many formed crowd under the bridge.

At various banks in the country’s commercial city, customers eager to make transactions, turned out in large numbers, making nonsense of the social distancing guidelines of the NCDC.

Although the banks restricted the number of people allowed into the banking halls as checks on Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank and Access Bank branches at Ojodu area of Lagos showed, the crowd formed as a consequence of many people waiting outside the premises defeated the aim ultimately.

The coming days could predictably see massive spike in the cases of the virus in the country. And with the grossly inadequate healthcare facilities already stretched with the relatively low number of confirmed cases, Melinda Gates may very well be proven right in her prediction of dead bodies in the streets.