Millions of people from Lagos and Abuja to Ogun and the rest of Nigeria look anxiously to Monday May 4 when a gradual easing of restrictions against coronavirus pandemic begins.
It will be the end of five tough weeks of “stay at home”, curfews and restrictions that have had immense impact of personal lives and incomes, communal gatherings, faith and the economy.
The government has issued guidelines regarding what businesses can open, and what the next steps will be.
But Nigerians rushing to return to their business and other engagements will have to change their way of life and help themselves by practising personal hygiene.
When you venture out on Monday, you will be dealing with a mass of people once more after five weeks—drivers, hawkers, customers, pedestrians, vendors, tricycles, taxi drivers, bike operators.
There is no way of knowing which one of them might have the virus, so you need personal hygiene.
- You can no longer use your teeth to rip into packaged water sachet. The person who sold it to you already touched it.
- If you love groundnut and popcorn, then you can no more allow the seller peel and blow your groundnut. They would have to blow on their groundnuts using their mouth. You also cannot buy already skinned groundnuts.
- Choose hygienic eateries for your meals away from home. Consider places where operators like use clean protective gear.
- Where possible, cook your own food and carry your own water when you leave for work.
- Social distancing is strongly advised, so hugging may be suspended until further notice.
- Currency notes travel a lot from hand to hand. Once you touch currency notes—and coins—be sure to wash your hands with soap.
- When you touch change money given to you by conductors or sellers, ensure you don’t touch your mouth, eyes or nose with the same hand. Wash your hands appropriately or use alcohol-based sanitisers.
- You can’t share soft drink with someone else using the same bottle. If you have to share, pour in cups.
- Clean surfaces regularly, especially surfaces shared by many people. That would include your office table, the office PC, door handles knobs.
- Drop the “big boss” act and carry your bags yourself—at least, until this coronavirus business blows over.
- Stop touching people when you talk, and don’t let people do that to you either. Many have always found it in poor taste, and it is time to stop it.
- Maintain social distancing as much as possible. If you have your own car, now is the time it comes in handy.
- When your purchase is stuff inside a polythene or paper bag, keep in mind that the packaging has been touched by someone else and may be contaminated. Wash your hands once you get home.
- Always close the toilet lid after flushing. If that is a hygiene practice you ignore, now is time to give it a hard thought.
- Cut down on pressing flesh. When you get home, don’t hug or kiss your kids or spouse. First take off your clothes for washing. Take a bath or, at least, wash your hands before hugging your kids of spouse.