here is a new strain of the COVID-19 Virus which is called the Delta variant and it is spreading rapidly. While most governments are grappling with convincing their populace on the need to get vaccinated, the COVID-19 virus has undergone a mutation resulting in a different strain called the Delta variant. In Nigeria, there have been reported cases of the Delta variant with public health agencies like the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) putting states on the alert. How prepared is Akwa Ibom and what policies are in place to sensitize the public on protective measures?
Presently, our economy cannot withstand another 2 or 3 months long lockdown as implemented last year. Aggressive efforts must be taken to ensure the citizens remain aware and prepared to contain and combat the Delta variant. During pandemics, the most vulnerable population are children and the elderly, therefore, continuous sensitization through seminars and workshops in primary and secondary schools must be undertaken.
Principals and teachers must be tasked on the need to implement hand hygiene and increased surveillance of any unwell child or teacher within their jurisdiction. Body temperature assessments before entry into school premises must be maintained and for boarding schools, isolation facilities must be provided.
Public spaces like Ibom plaza, bus parks, airport, market, and recreation parks need to be regularly fumigated. Local governments in population-dense cities like Uyo, Eket, Ikot Ekpene need to implement a street-to-street hand hygiene and body temperature check routine. While visitors into the state need to undergo compulsory two-week isolation in a government-designated hotel. Certainly, this last point can only be ensured through co-operation between airlines flying into Victor Attah International Airport and transport operators.
Thus far, in comparison to other countries, our COVID-19 statistics have not been frightening as expected. Nonetheless, we cannot leave our public health to chance rather we must take steps to ensure we are prepared and protected against this deadlier strain of the COVID-19 virus.