According to an expert of the World Economic Forum, the global Covid19 lockdown is the world’s biggest psychological experiment – and we will pay the price.
Dr Elke Van Hoof Professor, health psychology and primary care psychology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel postulated that:
• With some 2.6 billion people around the world in some kind of lockdown, we are conducting arguably the largest psychological experiment ever;
• This will result in a secondary epidemic of burnouts and stressrelated absenteeism in the latter half of 2020;
• Taking action now can mitigate the toxic effects of COVID-19 lockdowns.
Closer home, Nigerians have mostly been complaining of inadequate palliatives and many are sceptical that there are even incidents of Covid19 as reported daily by the health authorities.
With people affected by restricted movements, the regular supply of basic goods and services have been largely affected. This in turn has upped the inflation rate of essential commodities like food stuff and other daily needs.
Many have taken swipes at government agencies over the management of the Lockdowns and the supposed distribution of palliatives. Mostly affected are the daily paid ‘hustlers’. The taxi and bus drivers, keke and okada riders and interstate travel services. The cart pusher, market people and thousands of other subsistence enterprises have been either greatly limited or entirely paused as a result of the lockdown.
While many states have relaxed the restrictions in movement, people are still grappling from the effect of adjusting to a never experienced ‘normal’ of limited or zero freedom of movement.
One respondent in Lagos, a mobile phone repairs technician lamented the effect of the Lockdowns on his business. Apart from low patronage, required spare parts have either skyrocketed in pricing or have been difficult to obtain.
A businessman, Daniel Okpashi opined that the government has indeed been working hard to fight down the virus (Covid19). Another respondent, a job seeker disagreed with Okpashi. According to the former, the government (in Lagos) has failed in the management of Covid19.
Pascal Okoye advised that he govt to emulate other developed nations by providing basic needs of people before asking them to stay at home. According to Okoye, not everyone can stay at home without food and water and even medicine to heal the sick who are not Covid19 cases.
Pregnant women, asthmatic patients, normal malaria patients and dozens of others who are non-covid19 cases, also require help to attend to their needs. This help includes freedom to access the pharmacies and medical facilities closest to them. That means freedom to move provided social distancing rules and Covid19 prevention procedures are followed.. However some of the security agents who are supposed to assist people in times like this have been reported to physically assault people exempted from restricted movements including health workers and people on their way to purchase medicine for their ailments in nearby pharmacies as in the cases of a male inWa rri, Delta State and another incident in Osun State involving a lady who was flogged by a patrol team.
While the Lockdowns have been extended in most states of Nigeria, the effect of having nothing to eat is biting harder on millions of people who live by daily activities.
The government with dwindling resources from FAAC as well as perceived insensitivity to Nigerians plight during the Lockdowns have not been having things easy.
Enforcing the Covid19 Lockdowns have seen the authorities vacillating between tough stances and diplomatic approaches to get people to comply with the regulations for the prevention of the global pandemic.
Hopefully, in the coming weeks, there should be easing up of the Lockdowns and a gradual return to our normal lives. However, whether we believe it or not, rules and regulations for the prevention of the spread of Covid19 will have to be followed as required by the authorities.
Recreational activities and sporting events have gradually resumed in America, Europe and Asia. German football leagues are back in action albeit without fans in the stands. South Korea earlier had its soccer games back with teams playing in empty stadiums.
More efforts will be needed to live in a post Covid19 Nigeria because things will never be done as usual globally not excluding Nigeria.
Social distancing rules and Covid19 prevention procedures will be a requirement for normal lives outside our individual homes. Handwashing and face protection activities have surely come to stay Globally. We have no other choice than to imbibe those attributes in our individual personas.