Lagos State with a teeming population of about 20 million people cramped into a small land area of 1,171 kilometre square contemplates total lockdown – but prevailing circumstances in Johannesburg South Africa is an indication that total lockdown may not work in Lagos.
Yesterday evening, agogoayonews.com spoke with a resident of Diepsloot (an informal settlement in northern Johannesburg with about 300,000), he confirmed that lockdown is not working in the area. “Hello sir, lockdown is not working in Diepsloot. People are going about their lives normally. I will see you in Randburg tomorrow”.
Simon, popularly known as Ringa had indicated he would be indoor for 21 days but later realised the lockdown was not realistic.
Moreover, observations reveal that lockdown negates social distancing in densely populated areas – when you tell people not to move up and down, you are indirectly telling them to gather and congregate.
Meanwhile, Vinolia Ndou, another Diepsloot resident says lockdown is working but social distancing is not working. “There are one or two people on three looking for bread. Most people are in their yard, rooms and houses”. Evidently, movement restriction is invalidating social distancing.
Police had to use minimal force to disperse crowd at Hillbrow yesterday when the people hit the streets to buy groceries. Panic buying and scarcity of goods led to a long queue for grocery which makes a mockery of the lockdown and social distancing.
Authorities in Lagos must not forget that the population of Lagos is almost the half of South Africa as a nation. South Africa’s population currently sits at 59, 114, 609 while Lagos population (worldometer) wile Lagos sits at 21 (wordpopulationreview.com) – one-third of SA population.
Though lockdown appears to be working in South Africa’s affluent and middle class areas – but the bulk the people, especially the vulnerable ones don’t live in those areas. The vulnerable are the ones that may start a protest as lockdown will surely lead to hunger – a hungry man is an angry man.
The viral video where a soldier was beating a man in South Africa confirms tensions are high and the people are people are frustrated. This situation requires plenty wisdom and local remedies that are environmentally compliant.
Vimbikai Chitiga, a Zimbabwean development analysts says lockdown may also lead to increase in domestic violence at hunger may lead to unguarded ventilation of frustrations in poor homes. It is imperative the lockdown concept is holistically evaluated in Africa, so we don’t save our right hand then lose the hand.
Authorities must not only be interested in keeping people at home to beat coronavirus whilst other vices and menaces become the order of the day.
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu says a total lockdown is imminent in Africa’s 7th largest economy if the cases of coronavirus continue to increase.
Out of the 70 confirmed cases nationwide, Lagos accounts for 44 – hence the governor theorises that the state is moving toward total lockdown – but that may only be possible when the figure skyrockets past a particular high margin.
However, the state Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi said the state might witness 39,000 cases of COVID-19 in a worst-case scenario but if social distancing is observed, it may not go beyond 30,000 cases.
Lagosians are advised to adhere to the social distancing rules to contain the spread of the disease.
He said, “Our mathematical modelling shows that the worst-case scenario is that we may see up to 39,000 cases in Lagos, but if everyone practises good social distancing, the figure will be limited to 13,000.
“Looking at the same timeframe from the introduction of the index case, you can see that Lagos State is not seen anywhere near what Spain, Italy, and Iran are showing. So, at weeks two and three of our index case, we are flat and at week four, we have 37 cases; while at the same fourth week, Italy, Iran, and Spain had more than 20,000 cases.”
Mr Abayomi added that the state was tracing 3,000 contacts who might have had contact with some of the confirmed cases.
This pandemic requires all hands on deck so Covid-19 may be subdued with minimal damage to our world.