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COVID-19: Normalcy can’t return until 2021 —NCDC

The Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu has said that Nigeria, just like the rest of the world, would not return to normal life until 2021.

Ihekweazu, who spoke on Saturday on The Platform, an annual event of Covenant Christian Centre, explained that though mass gatherings could be difficult to avoid, it would be for the best.

He also noted that it is a sacrifice “we will have to make as a people to get over this.”

According to him, members of the public would have to rethink how they conducted businesses, social gatherings such as weddings and religious gatherings in the short term.

He said: “We are faced with a difficult reality and we are not unique in this. Every country is, right now, looking at the same challenge and how to get us back to some level of normalcy.

“But the reality is that we are going to live with COVID-19 for the next year, at the very least. So, we have to start thinking about how to live safely with COVID-19.

“Some of the changes we will need to make are actually good things to have forever. With the emphasis on hand washing, (use of) sanitisers and respiratory hygiene, my goal as the leader of the NCDC is that we continue doing this forever.”

Read also: One more twist as Ganduje secures Buhari’s approval, relaxes COVID-19 lockdown in Kano

He added that the habits would not only prevent the spread of COVID-19, but also many other diseases.

“I hope we don’t go back, like we did post-Ebola, to an era of not washing our hands. Who would want that? So, we really want some of these measures to go on,” Ihekweazu said.

Responding to a question on the daily fight against COVID-19, the NCDC boss said that the worst had yet to come.

“We really are at the beginning of this outbreak globally,”

“The point where we will assess how many people died in Nigeria versus everywhere else — it may be a year or two when we look back to the evolution of this outbreak. You can see that the outbreak comes in waves. We are not sure where we are on our own trajectory at the moment. It’s early days to reach conclusions around mortality”, he said.

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