Chikwe Ihekweazu, director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), says the federal government may issue another lockdown if there is an explosion of COVID-19 cases in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier issued a five-week lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja to contain the spread of the disease.
The lockdown ended on Sunday, leading to a partial reopening of the economy.
There were reports of non-compliance with social distancing and other guidelines of the NCDC as there crowd at banks and in many buses in Ogun, Lagos and Abuja
Speaking at the presidential task force briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja on Monday, Ihekweazu said the federal government may be forced to issue another lockdown if cases explodes.
He said the country will record an increase in cases as a result of violation of social distancing measures.
The NCDC DG called on Nigerians to conduct themselves based on the issued guidelines in order to check the spread of the virus.
“It is not the guidelines per se, it is the thinking behind it. How do we want to manage the risk of explosion and transmission? Today, we might forgive a little bite because it is the first day,” he said.
“We will have infection because of what happened today, no doubt about that. But how can we learn from the mistakes of today into tomorrow, next tomorrow so by Friday hopefully we have normalised some of these things.
“Yes, we knew today would be a problem because for the first time, people were let out of their homes but now they are out and we have seen the sunlight again, the challenge for us as a society is how do we now organise ourselves to mitigate these risks and limit transmission?
“We might have a few extra infection today and tomorrow but what we don’t want is an explosion of new infections. If we do have that infection, there will be almost no choice left for the leadership of the country than to ask all of us to go back into our homes. So for the benefit of coming out to reopen parts of the economy, there is a price to pay which is to reorganise ourselves to do this safely.”
As of Sunday evening, Nigeria recorded 2,558 cases of COVID-19, out of which 400 persons have recovered while 87 persons have died of it.
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