In Nigeria’s commercial hub, Lagos, the notorious traffic jams were on Monday absent as most people chose to remain indoors.
Most bus stops, normally bustling with commuters, had a few stranded passengers and the popular yellow minibuses were missing.
With increasing numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths that have climbed more than 20-fold since the lockdown was announced, there are concerns that the decision to ease restrictions in Nigeria has come too soon.
The country’s medical associations have warned that there could be consequences and most people were not eager to leave their houses on Monday.
For many, the decision to ease restrictions was more an economic one that had little to do with health reasons.
Many employers in Lagos have asked their workers to continue working from home and some business owners, unsure about the government’s decision, say they are in no rush to reopen their doors.
But as President Muhammadu Buhari said, the lockdown had come “at a very heavy economic cost” and that many citizens have lost their means of livelihoods.
“No country can afford the full impact of a sustained lockdown while awaiting the development of vaccines or cures,” he said.
This was a tussle between saving Nigeria’s fragile economy and an ailing health sector battling a deadly virus.
It seems the government has hedged its bets on the economy.
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