Nigerians Celebrate Xmas in Breach of Covid-19 Protocols

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By Our Correspondents

Nigeria may record a surge in Corona virus infections due to failure of people across the country to comply with guidelines issued by the federal government for the prevention of the disease.

Across the country, according to reports by our correspondents, only a fraction of the people wore masks.

No physical distance was maintained even as transporters also failed to carry fewer passengers in sheer disregard to the guidelines.
The virus is spreading rapidly across the country with a new high of 1,145 cases confirmed on 17 December 2020.

In Lagos, revellers were seen in clusters at drinking joints with no regards for Covid-19 guidelines. They wore no masks.

A few of them who spoke with our correspondents said their lives were in the hands of God and could therefore not be bothered.

The police were overwhelmed and also lacked the manpower to enforce the guidelines.

In Sokoto Christians thronged out en masse to celebrate Christmas.

Our correspondent reports that event centres and eateries have high patronage.

Shanghai along Ahmadu Bello way witnessed high numbers of visitors who took their family out for the celebration.

At Plus Centre opposite Shanghai the case was not different as many were seen with their loved ones catching fun.

Even though there were crowds at these places, COVID-19 protocols were not observed.

However, some churches ensured that only those wearing facemasks were allowed in. Worshippers were also asked to wash their hands.

In Ekiti, our correspondent observed partial compliance with the guidelines on Covid-19

Most churches in the state did not observe the guideline limiting worshipers to 59 during Sunday service.

When THISDAY monitored the situation around Ado Ekiti and suburbs on Thursday and Friday, churches were seen operating in full capacity on the eve of Christmas while still holding weekly programmes despite government’s prohibition of such gathering.

However, major parks like Fajuyi, Ajibade Garden, Soteria, Mortif Fun Island at Iworoko and Ado Ekiti and others were under lock and key.

However, operators of local drinking joints, popularly called ‘beer parlour’ opened their businesses unchallenged in spite of the threat that security agencies would be deployed to effect the restriction.

Even major and minor eateries were seen plying their trades with customers moving in and out unhindered, though with strict compliance with the use of nose masks and sanitisers before entry.
In Anambra, it appeared as if no one is paying attention to the virus second wave as people now carry on with their daily activities without regard to the resurgence of COVID-19.

Though the Anambra State government had issued warnings about the second wave and also urged people in the state to limit their events to only very important and necessary, only few persons observe the safety protocols.

THISDAY correspondent who went around towns reports that social activities are going on in most towns and villages, with no observance of social distancing, just as temperature checks were not carried out before admitting people into public places.

There were also no hand sanitisers provided for guests at these events.
Long lost friends also shake hands and hug, without recourse to the news of the second wave of the virus.

Before the holidays, banks and government offices refused access to those who did not wear facemasks.

In Jos, Plateau State, many citizens failed to comply with the protocols and guidelines reeled out by government to curtail the spread of the disease.

Of all the event centres visited in Jos on December 25 and 26, only the NASCO Polo tournament at Hassan Katsina Polo field, Jos had a reasonable level of compliance.

There were provisions for hand washing, use of sanitizers and insistence on use of facemask.

At other centres like Southern Fried Chicken, Jos Zoological Garden, Solomon Lar Amusement Park, only a handful of visitors were seen with facemasks. The provisions for hand wash provided at Southern Fried Chicken were ignored as people walked in and out in large number.

There was no provision for hand washing at Solomon Lar Amusement Park.

Church Services on Sunday saw only a few worshippers wearing facemasks. Others simply held theirs in their hands but didn’t wear them.
Most of the churches visited did not make provision for hand washing at the entrance of the churches as witnessed during the initial outbreak of the disease at the beginning of the year.

In Jos, as it is elsewhere in the country, there seems to be weariness to comply with the guidelines.

Authorities too appeared not to be pushing hard enough for people to comply.

In Kano, authorities are worried that coronavirus may spike again, as hundreds of residents in the state ignore safety measures such as wearing facemasks and social distancing.

Our correspondent observed that nightclubs and events centres were operating with huge gatherings without any regard for public health and safety guidelines.

Most of the event and viewing centres across the state have abolished the observation of social distance and use of facemask.

Refusal to observe COVID-19 became prevalent due to the failure of the state government to ban large social gatherings like carnivals, concerts and street parties during the festive periods.

However, checks revealed that prominent business places like Shoprite, Chicken Republic, Grand square among others had made it mandatory for every to comply with COVID-19 protocols, especially wearing of face shields, nose covers, hand wash and keeping social distance.

At the Christmas season, most of the churches visited by our correspondent observed that the worshippers have been subjected to use of facemask and hand wash.

The Chairman of Christian Associations of Nigeria (CAN), Kano State, Revd Samuel Adeyemo, urged Christians to follow the COVID-19 protocols as laid down.