Being one of the largest cities in the country, there are fears Kano State might sink into ugly coronavirus infection at community level.
These fears were expressed on Thursday after official confirmation of a rise of infection cases and death associated with the virus.
In an early-morning tweet on Thursday, the State Ministry of Health said a total of 21 cases have been confirmed.
It stated that the total number of infections was 21 as of 11:45pm on Wednesday, following the confirmation of 12 new cases.
The ministry tweeted moments after the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said the number of COVID-19 cases had surpassed 400.
According to an earlier tweet by the NCDC, Nigeria has a total of 407 infections with 12 deaths and 128 people discharged as of 11:20pm Wednesday.
Thirty-four news cases were discovered in five states – Lagos (18), Kano (12), Katsina (two), Delta (one), and Niger (one).
This brings the total number of cases in Lagos to 232, while the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Osun that are the second and third worst-hit have 58 and 20 infections respectively.
Medical workers told Daily Mail the situation could get really quickly out of control knowing how less informed the people are.
“This could get ugly,” a medical worker said, adding that, “There’s less information dissemination. This could get pretty ugly very fast.
“It’s very hard to distinguish which is urban and which is rural in Kano because of the population and poverty in the state.”
She added that, “There’s a huge challenge to trace, isolate and treat. By allowing even one case in Kano it means we have a serious issue in our hand.
“The government is not on top of the situation. The information on the street is not helping matters. Out of every ten, you are likely to hear eight or maybe mine not knowing what this virus really is.
“If you listened to some of them, they interpret it in different ways that don’t add up. They don’t know what it is. This directly affects their disposition for social distancing, hand washing and use of face masks among others.”
A public public health expert with virus experience with the World Health Organization, Muhammed Idris said, “Information at this stage is key. We have millions of people in Kano, the state with the highest population in Nigeria. You need to go to the city to know how huge the population is.
“These are poor people already. Lock down can work in few places but does the government have the capacity to monitor the whole state? It does not.
“Again, Kano is one of the poorest in the country. The people live on daily income, Just small trading along the streets, hawking, cleaning, Just those menial jobs. Ho many of these people can be identified and assisted with palliative with the lockdown?
“Lockdown won’t be effective here. If they insist on it, they will be riot.
“So, the challenge is very huge. Prevention was the best strategy but they failed now we have that huge number. How would they trace secondary contacts who may likely have spread the virus?
“Everywhere is a community in Kano, so it is likely to be a time bomb before this thing explodes.”
Despite the state government-issued lockdown, the law enforcement agents are having it difficult to enforce the rule.
“It’s very tough,” a police officer told Daily Mail during patrol as he joined his colleagues to move some people away from converging.
“The real challenge is to inform them and explain to them how bad this is. Some of them still believe it is like any other disease. They ask you why you don’t want them to come out to look for what to eat.
“They could get really violent so we are careful in our approach,” he told Daily Mail as they drove off.
“I don’t know that thing,” Adamu Yusuf said, referring to coronavirus, when asked if he knows the reason why government was enforcing lockdown.
“What is that? Is it sickness? Everybody is sick. How do we look for food? We need to eat.
“I have two wives and seven children and my mother, they need food. I hear many things on radio, they have not explained it properly.”
Yusuf was not alone is questioning why there was restricted movement. Almost every one spoken to in Sharada, Zoo Road, Brigade, Bompai and Sabon Gari expressed zero or limited knowledge as they struggle to earn their daily income.
A lot of people could still be seen displaying their wares on the road side.
Daniel James edited this story