The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has urged the federal government to consider a national lockdown if the current level of coronavirus pandemic escalates.
The NLC president, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, in a statement he issued yesterday, expressed confidence that Nigeria can overcome the pandemic.
He said: “Given the prevalence and devastation caused by the COVID-19 virus pandemic even in countries with very strong and resilient health systems, it is important for all governments, especially our own government to deal with this pandemic as a national emergency.
“We call for broad lockdown of the country with exception to the provision of essential goods and services. Such large-scale lockdown should be accompanied with appropriate support systems that allow workers who provide essential services to function and in a manner that provides protection and sustenance to them and their families.
“Government should provide suitable quarantine facilities that inspires confidence in citizens and assures everyone that infection with Covid-19 and subsequent isolation is not a death sentence. Putting in place other preventive measures against Covid-19 such as hand washing cum sanitizing including fumigation of public places, proper protective equipment for health workers, social distancing, and prompt reporting and follow up on suspected cases is clearly far better than treatment.”
Wabba however expressed concern that Nigeria is not prepared for the avoidable tragedy that looms, saying that the country does not have requisite infrastructure for diagnosis and treatment on a large scale.
He therefore said that attention should be paid to prevention.
He said that it is very important for government and private sector employers to provide special incentives such as special duty allowances, water, food, sanitary amenities and proper rest lounges for health professionals and workers in the frontline of the fight against the Covid-19 virus.
Wabba also called on the government to mobilize and train a standby health workforce in case the current level of infection in the country escalates, explaining that the standby workforce should be trained especially with specific knowledge on dealing with Covid-19.
“It would also be useful to call in experienced healthcare givers no longer in active service and whose health are reasonably robust to be part of the war against Covid-19. At the rate of this pandemic, all capable hands must be on deck,” he said.