A development economist and governance expert, Dr Chiwuike Uba, has warned that if government failed to apply stringent measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic head on, the situation will continue to deteriorate.
Uba, who is also the Board Chairman of Amaka Chiwuike-Uba Foundation (ACUF), issued the warning as cases of coronavirus infection continues to rise in Nigeria and other parts of the world.
He however gave recommendations on how government could affectively combat COVID-19 outbreak.
In a statement made available to news men on Wednesday, he said the confirmed cases in Nigeria may rise up to 5,000 before the end of this month, except the federal government deployed more resources for contact tracing and isolation.
He also advised asthma patients to take extra precautions to avoid contracting the virus by maintaining stricter social and physical distancing and speaking with their doctor about improving their asthma control as soon as possible, even as he advised asthma patients to keep taking their medications as prescribed on daily basis.
“Today being April 1, we have recorded 151 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Nigeria, with 2 confirmed deaths. While the lockdown on business activities and other measures undertaken by federal and state governments are commendable, the government should deploy more resources to contact tracing and isolation. This is very critical to avoid the confirmed cases in Nigeria from rising to up to 5,000 before the end of this month.
“Nigeria may eventually be confronting the ‘epidemiological pandemic’ if this pandemic gets to the poorest of the people. The country has a housing deficit and currently, in some areas, more than six persons live and sleep in one room. Evidently, the order to stay indoors, without providing palliatives and/relief materials to over 90 million Nigerians living in extreme poverty, indicates the insensitivity of governments to the pains of Nigerians.
“Clearly, as a country, we failed to deploy the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in 2014 to rebuild the health sector. No real genuine efforts were made to fix the poor and broken health care system in Nigeria. We recommend that part of the funds donated by individuals and corporate organisations to support the fight against COVID-19 should be used to build and equip more would class hospitals and diagnostic centers across the country; at least one in each state of the federation.
“Those with asthma should maintain stricter social and physical distancing and speak with their doctor about improving their asthma control as soon as possible. To reduce their risk of asthma symptoms during this period, we advise those with asthma to keep taking their medications. It can be a good way of tracking their asthma and helping to tell the difference between asthma symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms,” the statement read.