A majority of residents across Enugu State seem indifferent to Covid-19 protocols despite the sustained campaign being launched by the state government, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and other health stakeholders on the second wave of the pandemic.
A survey conducted by THE WHISTLER in some markets shows total nonchalance toward preventing the spread of the pandemic, not minding that almost everybody agrees that the ravaging virus is real.
At Ogbete main market, wearing of face masks is not observed. Various hand washing instruments placed at strategic locations are no longer in use.
A trader, who does not want his name mentioned, said, “I’m tired of all this. There is Covid-19, but this face mask makes me uncomfortable. I don’t breathe well. They say sunlight kills the virus, so God has helped us through sunlight.”
At Abakpa, the story is the same. Aside traders, social distancing is no more observed by passengers of commercial buses. Buses currently load four passengers per seat row as against two which was allowed before.
Innocent Odo, a bus driver, told our correspondent that, “Coro is real, but not for everybody. It affects old people, not real ‘hustlers’. If we continue to carry two passengers, we won’t be able to feed our families. Even wearing face masks is hard, so don’t talk of carrying two persons per seat.”
One of the passengers regretted that the drivers continued to charge passengers N100 from New Market to Abakpa while carrying four passengers per row. He said, “During the peak of the pandemic, we were made to pay N100 because they were carrying two per row. Now they have started carrying four, yet they charge us the same amount. Keke also does the same. Even the police that are told to enforce the protocols are there collecting N50 from drivers. This country is in God’s hand.”
Meanwhile, the state commissioner for information, Nnanyelugo Chidi Aroh, said the state had been on red alert over the second wave of the COVID-19, and reminded all residents of the state that the pandemic, with its associated morbidity and mortality, is still ravaging. He lamented that residents of Enugu State ‘have seemingly let our guards down and have shown unacceptably low compliance with the NCDC and Presidential Task Force Guidelines and Protocols for prevention of coronavirus infection transmission’.
However, the protocols are well observed at various schools in the state. Pupils and students were seen wearing face masks. Buckets of water for regular hand washing are also functional at strategic locations in schools across the state.
A school proprietor, Mrs Janet Amaka, said, “It is part of an undertaking we signed before we resumed academic activities. We don’t play with children’s lives here. Everybody is at risk. We thank parents for their support. The state government, through the state Universal Basic Education board, has provided public schools with all necessary gadgets for safe academic activities. We, in private schools, are not relenting.”