New Wave Of COVID-19 Amid Bleak Economy

New Wave Of COVID-19 Amid Bleak Economy

A greater part of last year was dotted by a devastating Coronavirus, Covid 19 pandemic that ruined the global environment as virtually all nations were not spared of its pangs.

The pandemic’s immediate costs, measured in lives lost and damages have been appalling and continue to rise. In addition, its effects on individuals’ livelihoods and economies around the world have been deep and are likely to be long lasting. While saving lives was the near-exclusive focus during the first phase of the crisis, governments are now trying to strike a delicate balance between preventing further economic damage by reopening parts of their economies, while managing the obvious health risks of doing so.

There are fresh concerns that a new strand of the virus is again on the prowl, forcing many countries to re-think their earlier easing of the lockdown measures. Many of them have indeed taken steps at curtailing the spread of this deadly strain by evoking the deep and biting.

 Back home, there have been reports of samples containing this fast-spreading and more deadly strain of the virus, fueling fears that the authorities may have no option other than cause a second phase of lockdown to take effect soon.

To express the sullen effects of the pandemic on an already ailing economy like Nigeria and its consequences on Nigerians is anything but devastating. People became more impoverished than ever, especially daily-income earners, jobs were lost, businesses shut and the livelihood of many was imperiled.

As the nation tries to pull through these malaises, a wave of recession is believed to be blowing through, sparking worries that should the authorities fail to take proactive measures against the backdrop of the new strain of the virus ravaging, dire and unprecedented consequences would be imminent.

Many Nigerians have urged the authorities to shun calls for a total shut down of the nation should the taming of the virus exploring current protocols fail to shoot down the rising profile of daily infections which have seen a steady increase above earlier levels.

AljazirahNigeria aligns its thoughts with Nigerians who consider another wave of lockdown unnecessary as it would further lock the nation’s already shrinking economy, buoyed by a hostile business environment. Given that the sustainability of fragile economies like ours depends on the strength of their small and medium scale enterprises, SMEs, it would be anathema to close these crops of businesses that necessarily prop the economy. They are indeed known to support job creation as the nation’s teeming youths find places in these SMEs to support their livelihood.

We, however, call on the government as a matter of priority to strengthen advocacy and counseling on the need to adhere strictly to protocols to stem the tide rather than shutting down the nation, even as we support the setting up of mobile courts to summarily prosecute those who violate these protocols. However, this proviso must come with a caution. Those empowered to enforce these rules must be seen to do so without fear or let but be guided by doing what is imperative in the interest of the total good. They must also exercise the same without being overzealous and causing unnecessary pain to citizens in the line of such enforcement.

AljazirahNigeria would also want a strict monitoring of the nation’s entry point, impose restrictions where necessary and empower port health officials to be on top of their game by enforcing compliance to guidelines as prescribed by international conventions.

On the whole, we call on the governments in thinking out what is imperative in this circumstance to strengthen the health systems by incentivising health workers, providing basic equipment and depoliticising issues relating to the pandemic.

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