Are we ready for this?

The president, Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, April 27, 2020, said the nation would go into a gradual and phased easing of the lockdown directive that was put into effect as a result of the global pandemic. 
The reason for this is not far fetched. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with some 200 million people, has recorded as at May 7, 2020, 3526 confirmed cases, 601 discharged cases and 107 deaths in 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory. There are possibilities the numbers will keep rising.
The country first introduced measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus on March 30th by announcing a total lockdown of the commercial capital—Lagos StateOgun State and Abuja.
The decision has taken a toll on economic activities. This has inflicted financial pain on millions of informal labourers who rely on daily pay to survive.
The president acknowledged that this had partly informed the decision to ease the restrictions.
“Many of our citizens have lost their means of livelihood. Many businesses have shut down,” Buhari said.
“No country can afford the full impact of a sustained lockdown while awaiting the development of vaccines,” he added.
“We reviewed how our farmers can safely plant and harvest in this rainy season to ensure our food security is not compromised.” 
But the president also announced new measures including a nationwide 8 pm to 6 am curfew, compulsory wearing of face masks and a ban on “non-essential” travel between different regions.
The air is filled with mixed feelings. Is this the best option for the nation or not? 
Lagos state government, however, has listed out businesses that should remain closed even as the state enters the first phase in the gradual easing of the lockdown, on May 4th.
In a state-wide address on Wednesday, April 29th, 2020 Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu explained that these businesses will remain closed for another two weeks, even during the partial lockdown until contrary directives are given. A few of the listed businesses are entertainment centres, salons and beauty parlours amongst others. In addition to other directives, the state government also suspended all operations of motorcycles, popularly known as okadas, on all routes in the state.
The only exceptions to this rule are those used for courier and logistics purposes.
Following a report BBC Pidgin made on the early morning of Monday, May 4th, in Lagos State,  we are aware of the mixed feelings of many Nigerians as to the phases and gradual easing of the lockdown. 
Amidst the fear of the virus, floods of people were seen on the streets of Lagos, their strongest point being, they can’t stay hungry, hence they need to come out and work. 
One commendable effort was that a majority of the people that appeared on the streets of Lagos had their face mask on in compliance to the directive of the state’s government, however, the social distancing rule was greatly violated. 
How would the government respond in ensuring Nigerians comply strictly to all of the preventive measures? 
The NCDC fears that the easing of the lockdown may tilt the scale even further.
In a report captured by The Punch, the Director-General of The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said; We are faced with a difficult reality and we are not unique in this. Every country is, right now, looking at the same challenge and how to get us back to some level of normalcy.
“But the reality is that we are going to live with COVID-19 for the next year, at the very least. So, we have to start thinking about how to live safely with COVID-19.
“Some of the changes we will need to make are actually good things to have forever. With the emphasis on handwashing, (use of) sanitisers and respiratory hygiene, my goal as the leader of the NCDC is that we continue doing this forever.”
He added that the habits would also prevent the spread of COVID-19, but also many other diseases.
“I hope we don’t go back, like we did post-Ebola, to an era of not washing our hands. Who would want that? So, we really want some of these measures to go on.”
Monday, May 4th, being the first day of the gradual easing of the lockdown already holds many stories. Are Nigerians really ready for the reality that comes with this? Would businesses, schools, firms etc. adapt as we still fight the pandemic? Or do we wait for when everything would go back to normal?
For now, our most assured response is to comply with the regulatory measures. Companies who can maintain a remote work policy should continue in that light. And together, we hope to weather the storm. 


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