By Ogochukwu Ikeje
In Nigeria there were 65 confirmed cases of COVID-19, up from 51 on Thursday with one official death, according to the centre for disease control.
Any little comforts? No. Rather there is mounting concern. With over 200 million people, Nigeria is three times larger than Italy, which boasts arguably the best medical system in Europe.
The virus has curbed Nigerians’ love for travel the way no presidential decree or diplomatic restriction could have. Yet there are other ways the Covid-19 has hurt Nigerians.
Churches and mosques have been advised to close or at best keep worshippers below 50 persons at a time. About 49 per cent of Nigeria’s over 200 million people are Christians, and roughly the same figure Muslims.
Whatever the result of their faith, teeming adherents derive succour from those worship centres. Some churches have been sealed for flouting the directive.
Sporting events have also been shelved across much of the world. With the popular leagues in Europe on hold, consider what that means to half of Nigeria’s population who are said to be active football fans.
Consider, also, what that means, say, to supporters of Chelsea Football Club owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, said to have the largest fan base in Nigeria, about 12.3 million of whom faithfully follow the club on Instagram and Google+.
Throw in also the over 20 football betting sites in the country complete with their staff and revenue turnovers, and you will understand that the coronavirus has wreaked havoc in the country.
That is why for two weekends running you have not heard the roar “GOOOAAAAL” from your neighbourhood viewing centre.
Everything has changed suddenly. The virus gave no one any time to think up any alternatives.