Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu
According to a report by The Nation, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, the director-general, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), does not see Nigeria and the rest of the world returning to normalcy until next year — at the very least after the COVID-19 pandemic.
But Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is optimistic that the country will emerge from the crisis economically stronger.
The VP and the DG spoke at the Platform, an annual event organised by the Poju Oyemade Covenant Nation at the weekend.
Dr. Ihekweazu said Nigeria like other countries, is faced with a difficult reality that will take some time to go away.
“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,” he said.
“So we have to start thinking about how to live safely with COVID-19, and you know some of the changes we would have to make are actually good things to have forever.
“The emphasis on handwashing, sanitisers, respiratory hygiene; my goal as the leader of the NCDC is that we continue this forever.
“That we don’t go back like we did post-Ebola to an era of not washing our hand, not only will they prevent COVID but they will prevent so many other diseases from spreading, ultimately leading us into a better future.
“The thing about mass gathering, it will be a big challenge for us, but we have to try. Every business, every church… every religious gathering of any form, social gatherings, weddings, we really have to rethink how we do this in the short term.
“It’s a sacrifice we would have to make as a people, as a country, to get over this. It will be a challenging time, but this is a sacrifice we would have to pay — we are not alone in this, even the countries we looked up to are facing the same challenges, there is no easy solution.
“Now is a time to build our country despite limitations and find indigenous ways to solve this problem, and make our country recover quicker. To do that, we need this short term pain in order to gain the long term opportunity to return to normal socially rich life Nigerians are known for”
“If there is one great thing that would come out of this, it is that we reinforce our personal hygiene.”