Lagos Clubs, Nightlife Pose Threat To COVID-19 Fight

While COVID-19 continues to be a pressing concern globally, Lagos is taking steps to curtain its spread. But not enough steps.

As Nigeria works to curtail the spread of COVID-19, the Lagos State government has been urged to ban clubs and regulate nightlife gatherings as part of social distancing measures. 

With the virus sweeping shocking statistics around the globe, Nigeria has recorded eight cases and the country is swinging into action. On Wednesday, Lagos, Ogun and some Northwest Nigeria states moved for schools to shut down by March 23.

Also, Lagos banned religious gatherings of more than 50 people while other aforementioned states stressed the importance of hygiene and social distancing. There are 220,229 cases and 8, 981 deaths linked to the virus.

Some residents of Lagos maintained that the school and religious gathering ban would be ineffective if the thriving nightlife is left unchecked. The state has one of the most vibrant nightlife entertainment with clubs leading the pack.

Already, Ogun state has placed a ban on clubs, restaurants, and cinemas for 30 days. In several parts of the world, including the U.S., U.K. and China, recreational centres have been asked to suspend activities.

Respondents who spoke with HumAngle expressed their fears that some Lagosians will brazenly club and party with others, who unknowingly might be carriers of the virus. They noted that the city is crowded and unhygienic enough, hence the need for extra measures.

Gbenga Akinkunmi, a teacher, said, “It is great that they have closed schools and religious gatherings but everybody knows that Lagosians do not joke with their parties. For the safety of everyone, it is important to add clubs and parties to the list.”

Akinkunmi and others who fear that Lagos might be the most affected by the virus if care is not taken have their panic backed by data. Four out of the five new COVID-19 cases in Nigeria are in Lagos.

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire said, “Of the five new positive cases, three arrived from the United States, while two came in from the United Kingdom. We are still collating information on the travellers.

“We know that two of the three from the US are Nigerians – a mother and child – making the six-week-old baby the youngest COVID-19 patient we have, and the third person is an American national, who crossed the land border and became the first COVID-19 case not arriving by air. The two cases from the U.K. are Nigerians.”

Lucy Ayinde, a microbiologist painted the picture. She said people “will dance and sweat with people who might have had contact with people exposed to the virus and before we know it the spread is done.”

HumAngle reports that respondents simply want the government to explicitly ban clubbing and nightlife activities while they work on sensitizing the informal sector to keep citizens safe.

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Anita Eboigbe

Anita Eboigbe is a journalist and data analyst with nearly a decade of media and communications experience in Nigeria. She has expertise in human interest reporting, data reporting, interactive content development and media business management. Anita has written for several national and international publications with a focus on communication for development. She holds an honours degree in Mass Communication and several certifications in data analysis and data journalism.

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