Recently, we have heard over the news that the coronavirus has been traced in the country. Coronavirus outbreak in Nigeria is really a great blow on the citizens and most of us have less or no information about this virus.
Gan Kim Yong, who has been minister for health since May 2011 and also a Singaporean politician in his speech shared great things we need to know about the CoronaVirus,He said the virus comes from the family of the CoronaViruses which includes the MERS and SARS as well the milder variance causing common cold, the CoronaVirus is more transmissible but appears less deadly than SARS, the rate of human to human transmission of this virus appears to be higher than that of the SARS, for now the evidence suggests that transmission is mostly via droplets, which means that the virus is carried within droplets emitted by an infected person over a short distance such as when the person coughs or sneezes, if the droplets come into contact with the eyes, nose or mouth of an individual directly or indirectly through hands that come in contact with this droplets, the individual maybe affected. To clarify, there is no evidence currently to suggest that this virus is airborne.
This Health Minister also said that the CoronaVirus can also be transmitted through surface contact, that is when the person sneezes or coughs, the droplets falls onto the surfaces of tables and chairs and the virus may remain alive for up to a few days, when some one else touches the surface of these tables and chairs, the virus can be transferred through his hands and he then rubs his eyes or nose without washing his hands, He may become affected. So we should always wash our hands. For contacts where the individual with a confirmed case may have walked past someone at the malls or hotels, the risk of transmission is low.
For CoronaVirus generally the person is most infectious when he is displaying symptoms.
Having heard all these about CoronaVirus we are expected to have a good hygiene like covering the mouth while sneezing or coughing, wiping the surfaces of our tables and chairs regularly and also washing our hands thoroughly.
In our chat with the general public down here in Abia State;
Mrs. Orji Christianna(in the picture above) , a trader who deals on hand peeled melon [ Egusi] told us that the news of the outbreak of this virus is actually not affecting them in their business area, because the market is still flowing as usual , even as she carries her product to the oil mill market at Port Harcout, it is still the same , the customers are not moved , sales are moving as it normally does . Mrs. Christianna concluded by saying that they have no reason to be scared because the virus has not been confirmed to be in Abia State.
Mr. Ugochukwu, a meat seller in one of the community markets at umuojima osisioma LGA in Abia State told us confidently that the virus has no dwelling place in Abia State, he went on to say that his customers are still buying meat without fear and business is still moving even with the news everywhere. In conclusion, Mr Ugochukwu said that he strongly believe that this virus will not be traced in Abia State.
In my meeting with a Gender Rights Defender and Child Safety and Development Coach, The Executive Director at Vivacious Development , Lady Nwosu Onyinyechi [DMENTOR] , Lady Onyinyechi told us that that there are actually four types of people in our society right now;
Type A: Those who believe that the outbreak of this virus in Nigeria is actually fake, they strongly believe that it is a scam.
Type B: Those who believe in the existence of this virus but they concluded firmly that it is not the African man thing.
Type C: Those who believe that the virus exists and it kills, but they have no information about it, they are so scared that it can kill anyone at any time.
Type D: The Religious people, they believe it exists but they are covered by the power of God.
She went ahead to say that most people in the country have less or no information about this Virus and its preventive measures, they listen to rumors and they have poor knowledge about the CORONAVIRUS.
Coming down to the Abia Public, Lady onyinyechi told us that the Abia state Government should not wait to confirm its Existence, rather we all are expected to be proactive, the Government should get ready, they should take safety precautions like checking the boundaries where people who come in from other states like Akwa Ibom, Port Harcourt, Lagos, Imo state etc . She went ahead to talk about the individuals, both the old people and young people, she said that their personal hygiene should be paid attention to, their Respiratory hygiene should be properly taken care of, things like sneezing and coughing.
She pleaded with the Abia state Government to provide public schools with running water, hand sanitizers and also bring Educators to teach the children about this deadly virus.
She called on the private schools to also pay attention to the kids, by providing sanitizers and water and also Educating them on what this virus is all about.
She also called on every parent to be watchful over their kids, especially when they come back from school, their parents should find a way to bath them or wash their hands thoroughly with soap.
Lady Onyinyechi did not leave the church out of this fight, she pleaded with the church leaders and heads to at least bring educators to their churches so that they can enlighten people on the deadly CoronaVirus.
Finally, she said that she is very confident that this particular issue of CORONAVIRUS will pass, and since there is no confirmed case in Abia State, the Government should not shut down schools but if eventually this virus is being traced in Abia state then the schools should be shut down until the case is settled.
Amanda Faith a Student at Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike told us that, A large number of the inhabitants of Abia are yet to believe the existence of the virus, many others are naive of what the virus is, they can’t even say what the symptoms are like, the general public are yet to get a glimpse of what Corona is all about.
I think the government needs to sensitize their inhabitants especially those in rural areas on the symptoms, preventions and controls. Miss Amanda talked about the Congestion at the popular Orie ugba market inside umuahia town saying that the individuals there seems to be fearless about the Outbreak of this Virus as something needs to be done
Miss Amanda concluded by saying that people living in Abia State should be educated on What this Virus is all about.
Engr. Nsikan Matthew, A public Servant, said that he strongly believes that the Outbreak of this Virus in Nigeria will not affect Abia state because if the case is confirmed in Abia, it will spread like wide fire simply because the people of Abia state have refused to observe healthy habits, talking about our method of disposing refuse, the way people shake hands all the time and the way people Cluster in a particular area can actually help in spreading the virus.
He went ahead to say that the Government and the citizens have a huge part to play, he stated that the government should not pay less attention rather they should put modalities in place, so that in their capacity, they should have the ability and capability to handle this virus if any Case is traced in the State. Also the citizens are expected to be careful in their environments, it is not about washing their hands with water and soap or using hand Sanitizers, they should try to maintain a good hygiene by keeping their surroundings clean. Engr. Nsikan in his conclusion said that since the virus is yet to be confirmed in Abia State, then there should be no panic amongst us rather we should maintain a healthy environment.
Rev. Fr. Ikedi Nwankuba, A Roman catholic priest at St Theresa parish Olokoro Abia State spoke firmly on the issue of CORONAVIRUS saying that, this virus came from China and has claimed much lives there. Of course the virus is highly inflammable and all need to be careful and sensitive.
He also said We should not stop our daily activities and schools because The FG and ministry of health and other health parastatals are on the top gear to get everything checked.
Schools should provide the sanitary equipments to enable students wash their hands before they enter into their classes and after classes they should equally wash their hands. The same thing goes to various offices.
Rev. Fr Ikedi also advised People to constantly wash their hands and be conscious of the people they shake hands with.
Finally, he said since their have not been any casualty recorded in Abia State, we should endeavor to be Careful, conscious and sensitive in all that we do.
Having heard from all these people, I believe that the citizens are not actually moved by the existence of this Virus, but like the public said, most people are yet to get proper knowledge of this Virus, they sneeze in an open place, cough carelessly, cluster around.
All hands should be on deck in making sure that people are well protected, the schools should educate there children on what the virus is all about, the parents should also pay attention to their kids,the offices and companies get hand Sanitizers for their staff, the churches should organize lectures for their members, Government should set up modalities, because I strongly believe that it is on our hands to make Abia State great.
Reporting: OBILOR GRACECLIFFS EBUBECHUKWU