NCDC Appeals to Commercial Banks to Open Branches

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NCDC Appeals to Commercial Banks to Open Branches

Abiodun OBA

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has called on commercial banks in Lagos and the FCT to open up their branches to reduce overflooding of customers in the few operating ones.

The Director-General of the NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, made the passionate appeal at the Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja.

Ihekweazu lamented, that the decision of banks to open only a few branches could be counterproductive as people troop towards the limited options.

“So there’s only so much we can do,” he said, “we can produce all the guidelines in the world, we can preach, hold press conferences, but if organisations are not going to support the implementation of these measures and help us manage the risk, how do we want to manage and mitigate the risk of exposure, the risk of transmission?”

The NCDC boss said the there was “no doubt” that Monday’s behaviour will result in more infections, but urged the nation to learn from it or return to square one.

According to him, if Nigerians do not comply with social distancing measures, leading to a new explosion of infections, the federal government might be forced to implement another lockdown.

“Initial reports are not too pleasing across the country,” Dr. Ihekweazu said of the lockdown compliance.

“Yes, we knew today (Monday) would be a problem,” he said. “Everybody here knew today (Monday) would be a problem because for the first time people were let out of their homes.

“But now that we have seen the sunlight again, the challenge for us as a society is how do we now organise ourselves to mitigate this risk, to limit transmission.

“Yes, we might have a few extra transmissions today and tomorrow, but what we don’t want is an explosion of new infections. If we do have that new explosion, there would be almost no choice for the leadership of the country than to ask everybody to go back into our homes.”

Recall, that, weeks of lockdown in Lagos and Abuja were eased on Monday, but crowds clustered at banks, defying the government’s advisories.

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