Rising COVID-19 cases: ICT expert urges FG to restrict movement

An Information and Communications Technology (ICT) expert, Mr Jide Awe, has called for stricter restriction of movement to curtail the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country.

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Awe, also Chief Executive Officer of Jidaw Systems Ltd., made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Lagos.

The ICT expert said that movements should be restricted until the rate of COVID-19 infections went down.

“Furthermore, government must be creative, firm and show leadership in ensuring public compliance with social distancing protocols,” Awe said.

He said that the lockdown relaxation had doubled the number of COVID-19 infections in the country as Nigerians were not complying with the social distancing directive.

Awe noted that the lockdown was eased to reopen the economy and allow people to earn income as many went through hard times due to restriction of movement.

He said that easing the lockdown at this period could lead to more human costs for COVID-19.

“While the economic impact of the virus cannot be denied, people must be alive, fit and healthy to earn livelihood and build the economy.

“The fact is that new COVID-19 patients and deaths are still on the increase with poor compliance with social distancing.

“Easing the lockdown was, therefore, a huge risk to take to get the society back to normal,”he said.

Awe noted that total lockdown would have been achieved if only appropriate support and palliatives were given to all citizens.

“The effectiveness of the lockdown depended to a large extent on the adequacy and relevance of palliatives,” he said.

Awe said that the lockdown slowed the spread of the virus and reduced the burden on the health system, saying that the palliatives should have helped to reduce the hardships experienced by citizens.

“This is part of the reasons why people are not adhering to the social distancing requirements, even after easing the lockdown.

“We are witnesses to the rowdy scenes in banks as well as crowds at bus stops, in public transportation and markets, as the lockdown was eased,” Awe said.

He said that people would continue to ignore the risks because public awareness and acceptance of the COVID-19 risk was quite low.

“People are, however, interconnected and there is no guarantee that everyone will make the same efforts to be safe.

“The pandemic has changed the daily lives of people. It has been tasking for many people struggling to put food on their table.

“Certainly in a unique experience of this nature, mistakes will be made but we need to learn fast,” the ICT expert noted.

Awe said that as the government monitored the situation, it might need to review its strategy and take more proactive measures.

He urged government to increase testing and be more aggressive in contact tracing and advisory to the public on building immunity.

The ICT expert urged government to adopt technology related strategies and researching solutions to curb the virus and give meaningful hardship support to the populace.(NAN)

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