The World Health Organization has given conditions that must be met by countries including Nigeria before restrictions and lockdowns imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic can be lifted.
Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, gave the conditions on Thursday during his weekly address to Geneva-based diplomats.
Tedros noted that the conditions must be met to prevent another surge of infections which could be worse than the initial situation.
1. Governments must ensure that the spread of the novel coronavirus is under control. This means that health authorities must know the origin of every single case and cluster of infections.
2. National health systems (like the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control) must be able to find, test, isolate and treat every new case, and all recent social contacts of every infected person must be tracked down.
3. Countries that want to ease their curbs must minimize infection risks in hot spot settings such as hospitals and nursing homes.
4. Preventive measures must be in place in workplaces, schools and other essential locations. This includes physical distancing, hygiene etiquette and, possibly, temperature measurements, according to the new WHO guidelines.
5. Countries must also manage the risk of importing new cases from abroad, by detecting infected travellers, and by quarantining those who arrive from hot spot countries.
6. Lastly, Tedros said it is important that “communities are fully educated, engaged and empowered to adjust to the ‘new norm’ of behaving in ways that prevent new infections.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Monday extended the lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states by another 14 days to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country.
Some other states including Kwara have also introduced certain restrictions within their domains.
Meanwhile, as at the time of filing this report, based on the latest update given by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Nigeria has a total of 407 confirmed cases of the coronavirus infection.