Covid-19 resurgence and implications of second lockdown

As the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic continues the Presidential Task Force (PTF) is mulling possibility of another lockdown to curb the spread of the virus. In this piece, KEHINDE OSASONA looks at the resurgence of pandemic and implications of another lockdown.

Johns Hopkins University data indicates that Nigeria, with a population of about 200 million people, has had more than 71,000 confirmed cases and nearly 1,200 deaths occasioned by Covid-19 as at 2020.

Also, experts in the economic sector have described the twin impact of Corona virus and lockdown as the cause of plunge in the price of oil globally.

By implication, the plunge in oil prices in the wake of the pandemic may have greatly affected the global economy including Nigeria.

Apart from depending solely on oil, the country’s fragile economy as described by some financial experts, was still recovering from an initial recession when the pandemic struck.

In its forecast in 2020, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Nigeria Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would contrast by 4.3 per cent, a situation which was described as the biggest drop in four decades.

However, as the globe was heaving a sigh of relief from the first wave of the pandemic, there came another shocker by the World Health Organisation (WHO), of an impending second wave.

Confirming this at the weekly briefing by Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 in Abuja, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, hinted that Nigeria may be on the verge of a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

According to the minister, the rise in cases was mostly driven by an increase in infections within communities and, to a lesser extent, by travellers entering Nigeria.

He noted that about 1,843 cases were recorded a couple of weeks ago compared with 1,235 two weeks before it.

He said, “We may just be on the verge of a second wave of this pandemic. Consequently, I have ordered the reopening of all isolation and treatment centers that had been closed because of falling patient numbers,”

On its verified website recently, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) disclosed that the figure represented the highest number in a single day since the first index case was reported in Nigeria on February 27, 2020, smashing the record of 1,204 infections recorded in recent times.

The figure also showed that the infection rate has continued to soar across the country, especially in Lagos State, which has remained the epicentre of the pandemic in Nigeria.

Amidst that, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has announced that the budget would have to be trimmed further in line with the slump in oil prices, now around $25 a barrel, on top of the 15 percent cut made in March.

According to her, it was against the backdrop of current talk about debt servicing deferment, which accounts for approximately 58 percent to 60 percent of the government’s revenues, to “2021 and beyond.”

President Muhammadu Buhari had imposed lockdown on March 30, one month after the first case was confirmed on February 27.

New cases, matters arising

While reeling out its statistics, the NCDC noted that Lagos state was topping the new list with 712 victims while the FCT came second with 145 cases.

Other states with similar experience were Plateau with 117 new cases; Kwara state 81; Kaduna state 54; Sokoto state 39; Oyo state 38 while Rivers state had 36.

Other stated included: Gombe and Enugu which had 20; Akwa Ibom 16; Bauchi and Delta 14 each; and Ebonyi which has 21 newly infected people.

“Anambra state registered nine newly infected residents; Taraba and Edo states, eight each; Kano state, three; Osun and Ekiti sates two each and Ogun state had one,” NCDC stated.

Return to recession

Nigeria had slipped into a recession after its gross domestic product contracted for the second consecutive quarter.

Reports stated that growth has been fragile after Covid-19 hit the economy hard, amid low oil prices.

 According to data cited by the Statistician-General, Yemi Kale, the oil sector for instance, contracted by 13.89 per cent in the third quarter against growth of 6.49 per cent in the same period a year earlier, while non-oil sectors shrank by 2.51 per cent in the three months to September.


As a result of economic paralysis occasioned by Covid-19 restrictions and lockdown during the first wave of the pandemic, many Nigerian companies sacked and have continued to sack their workers, while thousands of others have down-sized as businesses take downward slide.

It was also reported that some companies managed to pay their employees 50 per cent or 25 per cent of their salaries, just as some did not pay at all because they are not making money.

The lockdown in Lagos and Abuja caused untold hardship on residents as the formal and informal economy suffered the most with non-essential businesses shutting down. While transportation fares increased astronomically, cost of food stuff also increased.

The question then is: Can Nigerian economy sustain renewed restrictions and lockdown? Speaking to journalists on how to avert a second wave of the pandemic and possible lockdown, a Virologist and Chairman, Expert Review Committee on Covid-19, Prof. Oyewale Tomori, urged Nigerians to cooperate with the government.

Tomori, a consultant with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and pioneer Vice Chancellor of Redeemers University, Ede, said: “Comply with the basic non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) of wearing mask, maintaining safe distance, washing hands regularly, improving general hygiene, sneezing into elbows, avoiding large gatherings and especially at this time.

“Stay home; avoid Christmas carols and such other services and festivities, as well as from wedding, baby naming ceremonies, among others. Avoid staying indoors in a locked and air-conditioned room. We have been told, but we have refused to comply.”

 “No nation should ever again be subjected to a lockdown, especially locking down without compliance with preventive measures. This is double killer- killing the economy and likely to kill the individual.”

Nigeria, its people’ll bear the brunt

Speaking exclusively to our Correspondent, a Financial Analyst, Awoyale Japhet, cautioned the federal government against imposing another lockdown, stating that the country and its people would bear the brunt this time.

“Let’s make no mistake about this, the planned second wave lockdown will not augur well for both the country and its people.

“Any form of restriction and lockdown without commensurate palliatives would spell doom and all of us would be at the receiving ends,” Awoyale said.

Also speaking, a concerned Nigerian, Onyeka James, noted that with the experience of the first lockdown he doesn’t wish for a re-occurrence.

He said, “If we are to look keenly, the scourge of lockdown took many lives than the Covid-19 itself. So, I want to believe that everything the government is doing is for the well-being and the protection of the citizenry. I implore them to adopt a more lenient approach to containing the widespread of Covid-19.

“Again, if the second lockdown becomes inevitable, I think government should help cushion the effect by making provisions for palliative and stipends to alleviate the people suffering so that the second wave will not come too hard on the people.”

Speaking in the same vein, Abiodun Ojo observed that the negative effect of the first wave of the Covid-19 was still fresh in people’s memory.

“Apart from the fact that many private sector are yet to resolve with their staff, the survival funds promised by the government did not cut across several sectors of the economy.

“Going forward, I think we need to do more by making necessary provision which shall be delivered to the low income earners and the masses in general who are likely to be more affected,” he stated.

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