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Lockdown is nothing like a curfew—it’s tougher

Since Covid-19 emerged in Nigeria, enforcement of measures to prevent the spread of the virus has become stricter. Reports of deaths resulting from the enforcement…

Since Covid-19 emerged in Nigeria, enforcement of measures to prevent the spread of the virus has become stricter.

Reports of deaths resulting from the enforcement of the preventive measures set across the country are becoming worrisome for Nigerians who are yet to grasp the difference between a lockdown and curfew.

Although the use of social distancing and lockdown might seem strange to many as a preventive measure to fight the spread of the virus, it is clear that Nigerians would need to adjust.

The need to gauge the situation rightly so you can give your bit to the coronavirus lockdown measures is imperative

Plateau state and Kaduna state residents have experienced series of curfews resulting from violence in the past, but are yet to adjust to the difference between a curfew and lockdown.

Curfew movement versus lockdown movement

“Limiting people’s movements can be very tasking and Herculean. It can be likened to forcing someone to stay underneath water. Usually very unpalatable. Its more or less a pressure placed on humans. “said Pharmacist Kim Jerry Bot, a member of the Plateau State Health Inter-professional COVID-19 response team.

Bot sees lockdown as an emergency confinement of people to their homes for a period of time while curfew on the other hand as a regulation requiring people to be off the streets for a particular number of hours.

He said the sad part about a lockdown is that persons find it difficult to know that such confinements are for their good and the general public.

For Bot, COVID-19 lockdown isn’t the only problem but the effects it’s posing on “economy, power, well-being, stability, leadership qualities and so many parameters of countries in the whole world.”

Peter Daniel, who just concluded his internship with Jos University Teaching Hospital, said the present lockdown makes him feel stuck and depressed compared to all the curfews he has experienced in the state in the last decade.

“I feel stuck knowing there’s no income, and if what I have stocked finishes, I’m in a mess and also knowing that this lockdown may go on for a very long-time causes this near-depression feeling.

“I just finished my internship and was looking forward to go for my National Youth Corps Service but just two weeks before camp, the lcokdown was announced, leaving me in the middle of nothing. It’s frustrating.”

Daniel explained that 24-hour curfews usually last for few days and “normal activities resumes almost immediately” but the “lockdown forces you remain in your room to stay safe from contracting the virus.”

“The fear for survival has hiked to a scary point,” he lamented.

Essential services versus non-essential services

Kyimya Andrew, a Plateau fashion designer expressed sadness over her inability to run her business since it falls under the “non-essential” category imposed by the COVID-19 lockdown.

“I don’t know of a time where businesses have been shut down this way. This is a completely new situation. As a small business owner, my business has come to a complete halt because fabric shops are forced to shut down as they are not essential goods suppliers.

“During curfews you need to be home before the time given elapses but with this lockdown, we are completely restricted from going out and we don’t even know if, after it, things will go back to the way they were.”

Andrew shares same plight with Ndenum Mary McDavid, a Kaduna state small scale entrepreneur in the Agro-processing Industry.

McDavid said the effect of Kaduna’s past curfews and the present lockdown on her business are the same except that the duration differs.

“As to everyday life, economy, business, the effect is same. Work is stopped, I have to put all business plans on hold, because even though this danger can’t be seen physically, for me it is very real.”

On a brighter note, she said the lockdown has given her time to “rethink and restrategize the way I live my life and conduct business. I believe that change has come, for crisis is the evidence of change.”

Unknown COVID-19 lockdown duration versus brief nature of curfew

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Boss Mustapha Monday said Nigeria is far from the end of the pandemic.

Curfews mostly last for few days to ease tension from violence or riots but with the infectious nature of COVID-19 which has no cure yet, social distancing and lockdown across the nation might last longer than expected.

This effect has Pwausoko Tankipo, a student of the University of Abuja more worried than usual considering the curfews he has experienced in Kaduna.

“This lockdown seems like it’s not going to end anytime soon, the uncertainty around it is greater than previous occasions,” Tankipo said.

He said the curfews he has experienced in Kaduna have all been a hard pill to swallow but the present lockdown is worse as it affects economic activities and “the total restrictions on movement can be psychologically challenging.”

He said he is forced to plan more intentionally than he did in the previous curfew financially, so as to cope with its uncertain nature.

Lockdown social distancing versus curfew social distancing

For curfew, social interactions and activities are still active but COVID-19 lockdown shuns any social activity as the virus can be easily transmitted.

Mohammed Shettima, a Kaduna civil servant, lamented about the social deprivation associated with the COVID-19 lockdown, as it affects his usual prayers and interactions with friends.

“I have witnessed a number of curfews in Kaduna but none is as tough as this lockdown. In the past curfews in my area, we observe our congregational prayers and mingled with each other within the area. But today all mosques are closed

“The most painful part is people are afraid of mingling because of the fear of this virus,” Shettima stressed.

On the free days allowed by Kaduna government for residents to stock up household essentials, Shettima noted that people were reluctant about going out because of the fear of the virus.

“I have stopped going to work, I don’t visit anybody, I missed praying in congregation, missed watching Arsenal as well. All I do is to eat, sleep and one does not even know when normalcy will return.

“I have become lazy and missed a lot of opportunities, If not for social media I wonder how life will be in this total lockdown era. My prayer is that we find a solution to this disease.”

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