Nigerians are beginning to express anxiety due to reports of a likely second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, amid an economic recession and job losses reputedly caused by the first wave of the pandemic.
This is as the Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Saturday tested positive for COVID-19, while his Kaduna State counterpart, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, also on Friday evening announced that he was going into self-isolation as one of his family members and a government official tested positive for the virus.
It was the second time El-Rufai would go into isolation since February when the index case of the coronavirus was recorded in the country.
Sanwo-Olu’s status was confirmed about 24 hours after he went into self-isolation when one of his close aides tested positive for the virus.
The state Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, in a statement on Saturday titled, ‘Sanwo-Olu undergoes COVID-19 treatment,’ said a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test performed on the governor confirmed that he had tested positive for the virus and already showing mild symptoms and fatigue.
Abayomi said, “Following Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19, a PCR test performed yesterday (Friday) has confirmed that he has indeed been infected with the virus, which is supported by mild symptoms and fatigue typical of a mild case of COVID.
“Mr Governor is receiving treatment and is being closely monitored at home by the very experienced state COVID-19 clinical team from IDH (Infectious Disease Hospital) Yaba.”
Also, El-Rufai in a short video message on Friday on his verified social media handles, said he hoped to be tested today (Sunday).
There had been warnings of an impending second wave of the coronavirus in recent times as a number of European countries such as France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, Greece, the Netherlands, and Italy have been recording daily increases in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Countries such as the UK, France and Germany recently went into a second lockdown due to the resurgent pandemic.
The Federal Government, in response, had recently alerted isolation centres in the country to be prepared for a possible reopening.
Amid all these, COVID-19 deaths started rising with a number of Nigerian VIPs, home and abroad, losing the battle to the virulent disease.
One of such people was the Ibadan, Oyo State-based billionaire, Harry Akande, who died from COVID-19 complications.
This was followed by the sudden death of the General Officer Commanding 6 Division, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Major General Olu Irefin.
Irefin was said to be a participant at the Nigerian Army’s 2020 Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference in Abuja, during which he fell ill and was taken to the hospital on Tuesday evening. He later tested positive for COVID-19 and was receiving treatment before he died.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, had also reportedly cancelled invitations to the wedding of his son, Hamisu Tukur Buratai, after the late Irefin tested positive for COVID-19 at the ongoing COAS Annual Conference in Abuja.
In view of the latest developments, anxiety has been building up among Nigerians, who have largely jettisoned social distancing, use of face masks, and other COVID-19 protocols.
For instance, the death on Friday evening of the Chairman of LEADERSHIP newspaper, Sam Nda-Isaiah, is said to be causing panic in the media circle in Nigeria.
Although the deceased’s family did not disclose the cause of his death in the statement they issued, media reports suggested that he could have died of COVID-19 complications.
The development has spread fears among media practitioners, especially those who had contacts with Nda-Isaiah recently.
The late newspaper owner was said to have participated actively in last Tuesday’s meeting of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria in Lagos, during which the Chairman of Media Trust Limited, Kabiru Yusuf, emerged as the new President.
All newspaper owners who attended the event had contacts with the deceased.
Sources in one of the national newspapers based in Abuja told one of our correspondents on Saturday that all members of staff who had contact with Nda-Isaiah after he participated in the NPAN meeting had been asked to go into self-isolation with immediate effect.
One of the sources said, “The general belief is that Nda-Isaiah died of COVID-19 and so there is a need for all those who had contact with him to be careful.
“Our chairman had contact with him during the NPAN meeting and he (our chairman) had had meetings with some members of staff after his return.
“So, the management has instructed that all senior staff members who had contacts with our chairman should immediately proceed on self-isolation. That has started.”
Akelicious learnt that another newspaper house had directed its reporters and interns to start working from home from Sunday (today).
One of our correspondents is in possession of a memo from the editor directing that only editors and desks heads are expected in the newsroom henceforth.
The memo issued on Saturday made a veiled reference to Nda-Isaiah and Irefin who died recently.
The memo read, “From recent NCDC updates, a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is with us. It has claimed the lives of at least two prominent Nigerians this week.
“With all of us vulnerable through community transmission, we need to step up the observance of the protocols again in the office.”