Pulse spoke to Dubai govt official on containing coronavirus and here’s what we learnt

Here’s what Nigeria can learn from what Dubai is doing to contain the coronavirus.

Illustrative photo of coronavirus testing in a laboratory (AFP)

AP Photo/Martin MeissnerIllustrative photo of coronavirus testing in a laboratory (AFP)

Nigeria confirmed 5 new cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) this week, bringing its current official total to 7.

The tourism and business hub of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is also battling the virus.

Pulse spoke to a PR and government consultant in Dubai (who prefers that her name be left out of this story) on what the city is doing right and what Africa and Nigeria could learn from the city’s containment efforts.

“Yes, I do think the COVID-19 situation blew out of proportion, as both people and governments ignored it for a long time, thinking it was China and Asia’s problem. Like any other virus, it travelled and very few were prepared,” she says.

“But, if governments and people now looked at how China tackled the crisis; there is a lot to learn. People do need to stay at home, the virus passes on contact and is not airborne, it does not survive beyond 3 days if it does not have a host. So practicing social distancing for 2-3 weeks could change everything.

“In Dubai and UAE, we have been lucky in that our government was monitoring the situation closely. First, events were cancelled, then schools and universities closed, then entertainment attractions, clubs, bars, lounges, closed. They restricted panic buying and put protocols in place to regulate pricing of essentials like food, sanitizers, disinfectants, etc.

Temperature scanners are now a must for travelers and public places around the world (BusinessInsider)

AFPTemperature scanners are now a must for travelers and public places around the world (BusinessInsider)

“Most offices are operating remotely, that is, no meetings, no going into the office, etc. and now on Sunday, they announced economic stimulus packages to reduce burden on individuals and businesses like reducing data/telecoms fee, electricity and water fee, etc. Fiscal measures have also been announced to ease burdens on banks and enable lending and liquidity.”

Even though it all looks grim for Nigeria and the rest of the world at the moment, our source in one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities, says there’s plenty of hope that this too shall pass.

“I think it’s a matter of time. All governments will have to put some fiscal/ economic relief measures in place to mitigate impact on business, especially freelancers, startups, SMEs.

“Testing times but I think the world is more collaborative than it was in the past, which is good news and we will collectively get through this,” she says.

COVID-19 latest figures

The Lagos State government, where most of the coronavirus cases in Nigeria are being treated, has ordered a shutdown of schools and places of religious worship in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

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