By Adeyemi Olusoga
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) will throw in the towel by the end of June 2020 in the management of the country’s coronavirus epidemic, and call for the full opening of the country, including opening of places of worships and schools across the country, INFACT has learnt.
It was also learnt that the organisation is currently putting finishing touches to the guidelines on resumption of schools and worship centres which will weigh heavily on practicing social and physical distancing.
According to a highly dependable source at the NCDC who spoke on strict conditions of anonymity as the source was not authorized to speak to the media, the Director General of the organisation, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu has concluded plans to end the fight against coronavirus.
“He would have done it before now because it is evident to everybody that we are not doing anything more than counting the daily increase in the infection rate. We all know that once the pandemic has entered the community transmission stage, there is really nothing we can do, it is out of our hands now,” the source said.
The source said fortunately, coronavirus has not proved to be the mass killer as earlier feared and the NCDC has reached the end of its fight against the virus.
“There is nothing more we can do, the thinking inside the organisation is that we cannot afford to shut down the economy perpetually, we have to move forward. The control of the virus is now beyond us, we must all learn to live with it.
“In the next one month, we will declare an end to the fight, coronavirus will then be regarded as a normal sickness that can be treated in any of our primary health care centres, we plan to end stigmatization so everyone can return to their lives,” INFACT was told.
This paper also learnt that the NCDC has taken delivery of millions of test kits which will be deployed all over the country to test the response of the virus to the opening of the country.
“From July we are going to be monitoring how the infection rate is either going up or slowing down. If it is the same regular number that we have always had, then we will just ensure that our community health workers are trained to handle all cases just like a normal sickness.
INFACT learnt that the leadership of the NCDC was irked that the country did not initiate a shutdown of the international airports stopping all international flights into the country immediately after the index case on February 27, 2020.
President Muhammadu Buhari refused to initiate an early shutdown of international flights, according to some Nigerians, to allow his daughter return into the country from the United Kingdom on March 19, 2020.
The airports were eventually shut on March 23, 2020 while the shutdown of local flights followed shortly after.
Many Nigerians have criticized the method employed by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on coronavirus in responding to the pandemic. From the lackadaisical explanation of the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire on the whereabouts of the 12 Chinese doctors who were imported into the country to help fight the pandemic to the questions marks over the government’s handling of the palliatives to Nigerians.