Corona virus pandemic had held the world to the standstill. A lockdown had been imposed to contain the spread of the corona virus, when eased; curfew became the watch word of every citizen.
Social and religious gathering had become a taboo!!! Political gatherings were convened at short notice and with the barest minimal persons in attendance. Financial activities had been curtailed. In the commercial hub traffic jams were absent, indicating that many were remaining indoors.
Economic activities took a slow pace. Public places, plazas were almost empty and bus stops which are normally bustling with commuters, had a few stranded passengers, who then tried to cram on to any vehicles that stopped.
Corona Virus pandemic and the new normal
Fear had ridden the hearts of many through media reports. Sensitization tips and information was a responsibility of all to all!!! Akwa Ibom State equally felt the impact of the Corona Virus pandemic.
The lockdown, imposed meant that many businesses were closed as people were required to stay indoors, except for essential journeys.
As the country began to loosen restrictions and have also relaxed their corona virus lockdowns so did the state followed suit. Strict adherence to the Corona Virus containment was ensured such as social distancing, compulsory use of face mask etc.
Corona Virus and the preventive measures
Markets and offices were allowed to stay open for limited hours and on selected days during the easing to allow people buy food and other basic necessities and also tend to their businesses. Some employers in the state were also cautious, asking employees to continue working from home and some business owners, unsure about the government’s decision, say they are in no rush to open their doors.
Corona virus pandemic and the nation wide curfew
A ban on large gatherings is still in place and there is a curfew between 08:00 and 06:00. People are also required to wear a face mask in public. Commercial buses must reduce passenger numbers to maintain social distance. Recently, ban on Churches has been lifted but rule of operation has been tendered.
Restrictions posed on many activities affected the source of livelihood of many in the state which caused them to live a hand-to-mouth existence, the restrictions led to fears that it could leave people hungry as it cut off their means to earn money.
Corona virus, the panic and fear of the unknown
The fear of death from hunger was more glaring than the fear of the virus. An average Akwa ibomite considered the news of corona virus as fallacy when their bellies and children began to groan and mumble for food. The figure of affected persons and number of deaths was no longer frightening.
Adherence to rules of the Corona Virus pandemic containment was carried out of fear of being molested or extorted by the security personnel or being dragged to court to pay heavy fines and not out of fear of being infected with the corona virus.
The NCDC preventive measures on Corona Virus
NCDC protocol of regular hand washing with soap under running water and the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer was strictly implemented in public and private offices but this procedure was carried out of fear of being neglected the services they needed.
They wanted to see the people being affected before they will believe that corona virus is in existence. In truth, the restrictions put in place during the lockdown were not strictly adhered to as many citizens flouted the guidelines.
Attempts at social distancing advised by the government were chaotic and abandoned after the first few days. The corona virus was generally seen by an average Akwa Ibomite as an ailment meant for the rich and strongly believed that that they cant contract it.
Religious fanatics were not left out in the corona virus drama. Upcoming and grounded prophets came up with different revelation and vision about the virus. Dramatically, most of these visions were contradictory.
Many bible portions were made point of reference to the present condition. End time messages were preached more than usual.
Corona virus precautionary guidelines and the masses adherence
Nevertheless, the story is different with the elites of the state. Most of them that have been travelling out of the state were stricken with fear. They quarantined themselves without any directive from a medical expert. They hardly go out and when they eventually go out based on a pressing need, they adhere to every rule. They conspicuously followed update on the corona virus pandemic news.
To this end, if the reality of corona virus case is to be compared to that of the Eastern world or the nearest state which is cross river state who recorded no corona virus case, should we accept that corona virus actually ravaged the land or we suffered without a cause!!!
BY UNWANA-OBONG VICTOR