1.1 Background to the Study
Coronavirus which is termed to be pandemic by the World Health Organization now considers Europe as its new epicenter. Italy, Spain, Germany and France are on total lockdown and several nations including Nigeria have banned travelers from countries where cases are on the rise. But it is a problem beyond Europe too, and governments in many countries of the world have closed schools to slow the spread of the virus. The sudden spread of the disease that causes COVID-19 has sparked alarm throughout the entire world. Since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared this rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, countries around the world are grappling with a surge in confirmed cases. In Nigeria the Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has followed suite in a bid to advocate for the prevention and the wide spread of the virus, they are now encouraging social distancing, frequent washing of hands as well as home isolation to aid the control of this contagious disease. Meanwhile, scientists are exploring potential treatments and are beginning clinical trials to test new therapies and vaccines. And hospitals are ramping up their capabilities to care for increasing numbers of infected patients (Coronavirus Resource Center, 2020).
Nigeria has shown a remarkable level of preparedness and response to the Coronavirus pandemic even with just over 300 cases diagnosed so far. These efforts are led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). Nigeria’s past experiences of quickly responding to the 2014 Ebola outbreak and continuously responding to other infectious diseases such as Lassa fever have strengthened its health security capacity (Ifeanyi Nsofor, 2020). NCDC is wasting no time in enlightening Nigerians on the need to keep social distance, frequent washing of hands and home isolation to prevent the widespread of this virus. Social distancing is a tool of intervention and mitigation, a way of reducing the viral impact on society by limited personal contact. It does not eliminate the virus but makes it easier to deal with. Social distancing reduces the number of infections and spreads them out over a longer period of time. The results are fewer infections and fewer deaths. Preliminary research suggests those with the virus can unknowingly infect others before symptoms appear, some as soon as two days after infection. The NCDC says its likely spread from person to person by water droplets discharged by sneezes or coughs of an infected person. Those who are nearby can inhale the droplets from the noses or mouths of the patients with confirm cases of this virus. Physical contact must be between two people with six feet apart or less. The virus can also live for hours or days on hard surfaces like desks or doorknobs. That is why using social distancing to avoid crowds is recommended.
Washing of hands has long been recommended to combat illnesses like the seasonal flu, but keeping your distance or social distancing is a new tactic that schools, sports teams and government officials fully embraced this week with unprecedented cancellations. It is not so much about keeping you healthy as it is about minimizing the number of Nigerians infected at the same time. The strategy has arisen largely from the coronavirus’ long incubation period: the time between exposure to infection and when infection symptoms appear. People start to feel sick five to 12 days after they have been infected, according to a study issued by Johns Hopkins University on March 9. However, it is still not clear when infected people can infect others.
Isolating those who are sick from those who are healthy is part of human history, beginning from the 14th century which marked the practice of quarantine in Europe. With the breakout of coronavirus, isolation is now a tool that is useful for the hospitalization and treatment of infected people. Isolation lasts until the patient recovers. Quarantine is separation for those without symptoms, but is suspected of being infected, especially if returning from an infected region. They are placed in a secluded area, their movements are restricted, and they are monitored to determine whether they are sick and the severity of their sickness. People are quarantined until it is certain they are not infected. The standard quarantine period is 14 days. Both quarantine and isolation are strict measures of fighting the virus, keeping it in a confined environment.
However, NCDC has shown that it is possible to reduce the impact of a virus with an accountable leadership by using science for decision-making and ensuring value for money in epidemic preparedness. Several opinions by scientists on borderless approach in responding to infectious disease outbreaks is very important because as far as global health security is concerned, the world is as prepared as its weakest link. Other countries do not have to reinvent the wheel in managing this coronavirus pandemic (Ifeanyi Nsofor, 2020). Nigeria is gradually succeeding in containing coronavirus and it is willing to share lessons learnt. It is on this foundation that this study seeks to examine the impact of social distancing, frequent washing of hands and home isolation on the control of contagious diseases; a case study of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19 in China and its spread to virtually almost all the countries in the entire world, there has been adverse effects in the efforts toward combating the pandemic disease by the countries fighting against the spread o this disease and Nigeria as a nation is not excluded. Experts say the impacts of this pandemic disease in Nigeria could push the country back into recession, it experienced in 2016.
Justice Nwafor, (2020) stated that ever since the outbreak of this pandemic disease of COVID-19 in the world governments of several countries have taken drastic decisions to combat the widespread of the virus. Some of the decisions taken are travel ban from and to the high risk countries of this virus like the USA, UK, China, Germany, Italy, Spain and France, lockdown by the governments of these various countries, social distancing and quarantine of the people with confirmed case of this disease. These directives are having major effects on the economic situation of Nigeria and can eventually usher Nigeria to another recession it recently experienced in the year 2016. One of the reasons for this is the crash in the oil price the Covid-19 pandemic came with its attendant oil price crash, as demand plummeted. With lockdown in China, which consumes about 14 per cent of the global crude oil daily and reduction in major economic activities globally, the price dropped considerably. Looking from another angle, before the coronavirus hit the world, Nigeria had been designated as the poverty headquarters of the world, with some 87 million Nigerians, or around half of the country’s population, thought to be living on less than $1.90 a day. With current measures put in place by the federal government to curb the pandemic, the figure is set to spike and poor conditions set to exacerbate (Justice Nwafor, 2020). Therefore, hunger may be on the increase. This menace of hunger has brought about desperate actions by some Nigerian youths who have resorted to stealing and armed robbery in some states in Nigeria especially in Lagos, Oyo and Ogun States. It is therefore hoped that serious lessons would be learnt when Nigeria and the world at large eventually recovers from this devastation.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of this study is to examine the impact of social distancing, frequent washing of hands and home isolation on the control of contagious disease of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria. However, the specific objectives are:
i) To investigate the effects of coronavirus pandemic on the economy of Nigeria.
ii) To understand the importance of social distancing, frequent washing of hands and home isolation on the control of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
iii) To determine the level of preparedness by the NCDC towards the outbreak of COVID-19 in Nigeria
iv) To establish the problems facing the NCDC towards the control of COVID-19 nationwide
v) To proffer the possible solutions on the problems facing the NCDC towards the control of COVID-19 nationwide
1.4 Research Questions
The followings are the research questions that will be addressed by this study:
i) What are the effects of coronavirus pandemic on the economy of Nigeria?
ii) What is the importance of social distancing, frequent washing of hands and home isolation on the control of COVID-19 in Nigeria?
iii) What is the level of preparedness by the NCDC towards the outbreak of COVID-19 in Nigeria?
iv) What are the problems facing the NCDC towards the control of COVID-19 nationwide?
v) What are the possible solutions on the problems facing the NCDC towards the control of COVID-19 nationwide?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The followings are the research hypotheses that will be tested for this study:
i) There is a significant relationship between coronavirus pandemic and the economy of Nigeria
ii) There is no significant relationship between social distancing, frequent washing of hands and home isolation and the control of COVID-19 in Nigeria
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study would be of immense importance towards containing of this deadly virus and its eventual eradication in Nigeria. Findings from this study would also help in tackling future outbreak of this kind of diseases in Nigeria. This study would also be beneficial to scholars, researchers and students who are willing to develop further studies on the subject matter.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study is on the impact of social distancing, frequent washing of hands and home isolation on the control of contagious disease of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria. However, due to the high number of confirmed cases in Lagos State, this study will be carried out in Lagos State.
1.8 Limitation of the study
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 Definition of Terms
The following terms were used in the course of carrying out this study
Confirmed case: is a positive result from a COVID-19 laboratory test, with or without symptoms.
COVID 19: COVID-19, caused by a novel virus, the coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2 is a respiratory illness that has become a pandemic. This virus was first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Tens of thousands of people were infected with COVID-19 in many parts of China, as reported by the Chinese officials. Cases of COVID-19 have since then been reported internationally, in many countries. Sustained community-level or person-to-person transmission is the cause of the spread of the infection. The reason that COVID 19 is so dangerous is that it can spread through droplets or even stay in the air as an aerosol making it impossible to detect. The other factor is that many carriers of the disease may be asymptomatic so they may not take the precautions necessary to not spread the disease.
Pandemic: Widespread disease involving the entire planet, affecting a lot of people globally.
Quarantine: an effective way to protect the public. It is defined as separating and restricting the movement of people who are exposed or are potentially exposed to a contagious disease. Quarantine keeps such people away from others so they do not unknowingly infect anyone in their vicinity. It is used by Governments to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.
Self-isolation: when a person confirmed to have a contagious disease has to separate themselves from healthy individuals around them. This is done to prevent the spread of infection among the common masses.
Social distancing: any measures taken to increase physical space between people to slow or prevent the spread of the virus. This involves avoiding public gatherings, limiting the number of visitors to your home, staying at home more often, keeping a safe distance from other people and catching up with friends and family virtually instead of in person. If you have to be around people, maintain a distance of 2 meters or 6 feet from others around you as much as possible. Not just mass gatherings, but even shopping malls, stadiums, and movie theatres can make you a target. In general, any gathering of over ten people should be avoided or conducted virtually.
Coronavirus Resource Center, (2020). As coronavirus spreads, many questions and some
answers. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/coronavirus-resource-center. Accessed on the 12th of April, 2020.
Ifeanyi Nsofor, (2020). Lessons from Nigeria in Responding to Coronavirus. Available at
Justice Nwafor, (2020). The effects of Coronavirus on Nigeria’s Economy. Retrieved from
https://www.msn.com/en-za/news/other/the-effects-of-coronavirus-on-nigeria-e2-80-99s-economy/ar-BB11yB9D. Accessed on the 12th of April, 2020.
Michael Eboh, (2020). Coronavirus: How drop in oil price affects Nigeria’s economy. Retrieved
fromhttps://www.vanguardngr.com/2020/03/coronavirus-how-drop-in-oil-price-affects-nigerias-economy/. Accessed on the 11th of April, 2020.