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How “not social distancing” can spike COVID 19 cases in Oyo state

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Ibadan is the capital and most populous city of Oyo State, Nigeria. With a population of over 3 million, it is the third most populous city in Nigeria after Lagos and Kano; it is the country’s largest city by geographical area. At the time of Nigeria’s independence in 1960, Ibadan was the largest and most populous city in the country,

Aside from Lagos, one can safely conclude that other states are not really doing their best to curtail the spread of the virus. This is self-evident in the way many people in Ibadan still go about their daily business, social and spiritual activities without any regard for social distancing rules.

It is even sad that some people in Ibadan which from NCDC stats has 2,668 confirmed cases and 27 deaths so far still believe that the whole Covid-19 situation is nothing but a ruse and an attempt by the government to embezzle money. The truth is, Government is not doing much when it comes to awareness and educating the masses about the disease. And many of these people are locals who don’t have enough education or digital access to benefit from the various online awareness.

Most people are angry the government isn’t doing anything. In a community in Dugbe area of the ancient city, a youth leader Mr Yomi speaking to ipledge2nigeria said despite that he had ordered for sanitizers that had his name on it, people were still socializing, singing and mingling with total disregard for social distancing.

Mr Oriyomi said people cannot stay at home unless the government provides for them. “A lot of people told me their family depends on their daily income to eat and there’s no way they would watch them go hungry.

“Someone raised a very interesting comment about the way banks and supermarkets are dealing with the virus. Most of them have sanitizers and handwashing basins but only a few are safe to use.

“In most of these establishments, the person washing takes soap or sanitizer and turns on the tap by himself (with dirty hands). When he’s done, he turns it off by touching the knob which he didn’t clean. What’s the point?” he queried.

 He suggested that someone should be employed just for that purpose of turning the tap on and off and dispensing sanitizers.

The older people around Ibadan metropolis however are taking responsibility. There was an old woman that already had soap and a bowl of water beside her small tray of biscuits and sweets.

Speaking in the native Yoruba dialect, she (not wanting to be named) said;

“There are so many misconceptions about the virus. Someone even said you could contract it by staring into an infected person’s eyes. There’s also the belief that drinking and rubbing your hands with alcohol kills the virus. Some people are not even aware of the symptoms or prevention, they simply do not care,” she said.

Another issue is religion. Some people believe prayer will make everything go away. A woman said “we cannot entirely avoid physical contact and so, handwashing is unnecessary – we should rather just pray,”

How commercial transporters defy social distancing order

For most commercial transport operators in the city, adhering to the social distancing protocol is a tall order as they go about business as usual.

From the red and yellow painted micra taxis, to the tricycles popularly called keke NAPEP and the motorcyclists popularly referred to as okada, the awareness of the social distancing directive to contain COVID-19 is clear, but they choose to ignore it due to excessive desire to make profit.

The Micra taxis were still carrying three passengers at the back and two in front. The tricycles, were also still carrying three passengers at the back and one in front, with most commercial motorcyclists carrying two passengers instead of one.

Some commercial banks in the city are also jettisoning the social distancing rule, as huge crowds of customers can be seen at their entrance gates waiting to conduct one transaction or the other.

One of the bank customers ipledge2nigeria spoke with on a long queue said it was heartbreaking that even though the banks were supposed to be enlightened about the protocol, they simply careless about it, only regulating the number of customers inside the banking halls and not those outside.

“I imagine that the ATMs are not working. If they were to be okay, not many people would want to go into the banking hall. Banks should do better by following the rules of social distancing and funding their ATMs as much as possible,” he said.

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