COVID-19: Majority of Nigerians flouted lockdown, visited crowded places

COVID-19: Majority of Nigerians flouted lockdown, visited crowded places

A recent research has revealed that the majority of Nigerians flouted the lockdown imposed to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic, with 81 per cent of those sampled indicating that they visited other locations, including crowded spaces.

The study was released by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The research, Nigeria Lockdown Data4COVID19 Africa Challenge, was released after the results dissemination meeting on Friday in Abuja. The Data4COVI19 Africa Challenge is aimed at better understanding and response to the many issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic; as well as its consequences across Africa.

Significantly, the outcome of the study showed that many of those who flouted the lockdown exposed themselves to infection by visiting crowded places. Among these places visited are market/shopping (71%); friends and families (11%); religious houses (7%); work (6%); hospitals/clinic (2%); exercise (2%) and party (1%). Further, the data shows that another 91.8 per cent of Nigerians said they complied with the Federal Government’s stay home policy; notably in states with complete lockdown. The data also says 88.3 per cent respondents believed that staying at home was effective in curtailing the pandemic in the country.

Analyzing the report, Director, Prevention Programmes & Knowledge Management, NCDC; Dr. Chinewe Ochu revealed that 43.3 per cent of Nigerians were in states on complete lockdown; while 56.7 per cent were in states with partial lockdown.

“A slightly higher proportion of female (380/410; 92.7 %) than males (381/469; 81.3 %), were compliant with the stay at home order. Most respondents stayed home during the lockdown irrespective of age; 18- 24 years (87.1 %), 25-35 years (85.6%), 36- 50 years (87.3%), 51-59 years (90.5%, while 60 years (100%),” Ochu explained.

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She also said there were changes in public risk perception and risky behaviours through the first and second waves ; as well as the relationship between risky behaviours and trend of the outbreak.

“Overall risk perception remained low during both waves with two out of every five Nigerians; considering themselves not to be at risk of contracting COVID-19 in both waves. The first waves were (44.6%) and the second wave was (43.9%). There was a general lowering of risk perception across the various age groups in the second wave for the 25- 35 age group.

“Gender differences were observed in risk perception. A higher proportion of males than females perceived themselves to be at risk of getting infected with COVID-19 during the first wave; 60.3 per cent versus 50.3 per cent, while the second wave 58.3 per cent versus 52.6 per cent.

‘‘There was risk perception versus geopolitical zone in the first wave, while living in the North-eastern part of the country. This relationship was only significant for those residing in either South-west and South -South with 95 per cent for both.

“During the second wave, those residing in the North-west were four times more likely to perceive themselves at risk of COVID-19 infection than those residing in the Northeast.

“Lowest risk perception for COVID-19 during the first and second waves was observed in the South-west with 34 per cent and 46. per cent respectively,” she said.

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Further, she explained that there was risk perception versus marital status.

Those who were married were 53 per cent more likely to perceive themselves at risk of COVID-19 than the singles; especially during the first wave. Further, artisans/daily paid workers had the highest risk perception during the first wave with 69.7 per cent. She noted that their risk perception became the lowest among all employment categories; especially during the second wave with 37.7 per cent and later with a with a drop to 32 per cent.

Director-General, NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, who spoke at the meeting, said that government would review the data; adding that it would be brought into decision making.

Specifically, Ihekweazu said that it would serve as a reference document in the future.

“I am keen to hear the results. I am keen to read the publication that would come out of it and I am keen to use this to influence policy making. So, I am very grateful to all our partners who have hosted this challenge and supported us through the process.

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“But critically, I am really proud of the emerging relationship with the College of Medicine of the University of Lagos, with whom we now have a relationship.

“I am sure this will lead to better things to come,” Ihekweazu said.

The challenge, using innovative data, is hosted by I’Agence Franchise de development (AFD), Expertise France, and The GovLab. In Nigeria, the challenge project titled; “Understanding facilitators and barriers to compliance with non-pharmaceutical COVID-19 preventive measures in Nigeria”, is aimed at analyzing existing data on COVID-19. It is to understand the social, economic, and political factors that influence knowledge and perception of COVID-19 among Nigerians.

The project seeks to understand which social, economic, and political factors influence individual knowledge and perception of COVID-19 among Nigerians and how they shape population behaviour.


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