Social Distancing: Can Nigerians Survive It?

Social distancing, or physical distancing, is a set of infection control actions intended to stop or slow down the spread of a contagious disease. The objective of social distancing is to reduce the probability of contact between persons carrying an infection, and others who are not infected, so as to minimize disease transmission, morbidity and ultimately mortality.

If you are wondering if coronavirus is airborne then you should see this.

Staying away from others as much as possible is practicing social distancing. For now, the only places you should even consider visiting should be very few and they should be visited only when necessary. The markets for foodstuff and provisions, pharmacies, and hospitals. If you visit any of these places, maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and the next person, as recommended by WHO.

Avoiding large gatherings as much as possible. This is not the time to host or attend big parties and ceremonies. Lagos State, for instance, has banned all gatherings of over 50 people within the state, and other states are following suit.

Staying at home. There is no other way to put this. For some this may prove a challenge, however the less people are out on the streets and in contact with others, the faster we can stop coronavirus in Nigeria. An increase in COVID-19 infections in Nigeria will overwhelm our health system, and it is up to each and every one of us to stop this from happening.

The only way Nigerians will fully be committed to social distancing is if it is made into a law that should not be broken like Lagos state is doing. Anyone who then breaks this law by going too close to someone or getting into their personal space should have a price to pay for it.

As hard and as unbelievable as it might sound, as long as social distancing is set as law and measures are put in place to make that easy on everyone, then people will find themselves settling into it. It recently made the news of a pharmacy in Ibadan that had to draw boxes on the ground for people to stand in before gaining access to the store. It made the entire process orderly and everyone practiced social distancing seamlessly.

To the part where you wonder if Nigerians can survive it, it will no longer be a condition of Nigerians surviving it when they know the harm that they will be putting themselves in by not practicing social distancing.

The only people we can say will find it a bit difficult are those who provide daily services in public places and who depend on the little stipends they make daily to survive. Hawkers, for instance, will have to get really close to their customers in order to provide their service. The same goes for food sellers, barbers, hairdressers and practically every other Nigerians who go from a place to the other with the public transport system.

The only solution to this is a total lockdown on movement and outings at large. And a possible solution for survival is provided for those who make daily stipends on the street. As long as this is in place, then it makes obeying the social distancing rule easier since everyone has the means to survive.

Nigerians can and will survive social distancing as long as they become more aware of the fact that that they have a better chance of staying alive based on their level of obedience to the social distancing and proper hygiene rule.

It is called ‘Social Distancing’, but what this really calls for is ‘Physical Distancing’. We can still be social but maintain our physical distance. Instead of having friends and family visit, please take advantage of social media to keep in touch with them. This is an opportunity to reconnect with family members and friends.

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