Sunday, March 22, I was at the Port Harcourt local Airport as early as 6am. I had been informed by Arik that Airport and land borders in Ghana would close midnight Sunday. I had to leave Nigeria. I was slated to leave on Monday 23rd, so, I had to get to the Airport in PH early enough to buy another ticket and try to see which Nigerian Airline was flying out of Nigeria to Accra that afternoon or evening.
Even while passing the screening area to go wait for boarding announcement, nobody checked our temperature. The man there wore a face mask and glove. As usual, people had to take off their shoes and walk past the metal detector.
Walk on floors that didn’t look like they were sanitized at all. Luckily, I had my waterproof-like travel shoe with me. Toilet cleaners at Port Harcourt Airport would show you hand soap or sanitizer and ask you for money like they’re doing you a favour you should pay for.
We lined up to board flight and again, no distancing. No temperature checks. Not even inside the plane. Heck, the man who took the small cut out part of the flight ticket to tell you where you are seated didn’t wear gloves.
Now, Lagos Airport. Local Airport was just like in Port Harcourt. No temperature checks when we arrived and no hand sanitizer lying around. I carried my personal one onboard the flight and that’s what I used.
At the International Airport in Lagos, it was like Nigerians didn’t know Coronavirus is real and in Nigeria. No temperature checks before entry. No mandatory use of hand sanitizer. Customs were interested more in “what do you have for me na sister”.
No seriousness. People were queuing close to each other. Aside from the check-in counter, at no other place was I offered a hand sanitizer. Not at the restaurants, I bought food from. Not by any cleaner in the toilet. Not by any staff of the Nigerian Aviation Authority. Not by the Nigerian Custom or Immigration. There was not even any police or army personnel around to make sure banned flights were not coming or going. We were all just in an OYO situation. At our own risk.
I did my best to keep a distance and used my hand sanitizer like it was hand cream.
I was disappointed to say the least. No seriousness in us in Nigeria. Our government is a mess. A whole BIG ASS MESS. You would think that a State like Lagos where people are in their masses will take a little extra care? In Lagos, one person can infect a minimum of 4 others. Those 4 will infect 16 and so on. At least check our temperature. It was only checked at the point of departure.
But, they were busy announcing to all passengers heading to Ghana that Ghanaian government would quarantine us for 14 days.
We arrived Ghana. As you enter the Airport, first thing that you see is that EVERYONE(there were extra Immigration and Custom officers, Army, Health Workers than you would usually see) working for the Ghanaian government and Aviation Authority had a protective gear. Nose masks, gloves. Some wore hazmat suits, the ones who welcomed us and gave us information forms to fill.
After you fill the form, you pass a point where they take a picture of you, check your temperature and yellow fever card. There is a compulsory hand sanitizer there. You queue up with space and wait for Immigration to check your passport and question you.
Then, you get asked by another person your name and number and flight you came with. They give you hand sanitizer there as well. You get directed to pick your bag(s) and take a seat on one of the numerous seats they have at their International Airport at Accra and wait. All seats are spaced so you’re at least 3ft away from the next person.
From there, we were taken into an Armed Forces bus and escorted by the Army to a hotel. And QUARANTINED, after they addressed us and explained why they brought us to the hotel, asked us questions, answered questions from us, gave us hand sanitizer and checked out temperature, took our information again, checked us in and gave us food.
Around midnight, they came and took our temperature again, gave us numbers and asked more questions about our health. Then did a throat swab and filed it under the number we were given.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) tests will be done from the swab and if you’re negative, you will go home and still self isolate for a few more days. If you’re positive, you will be taken to where you can get treatment and be checked further.
Ghanaian government is ready for Coronavirus. They may have made the mistake of letting it get in, but they are seriously fighting it. They have closed down their Accra Airport from midnight of March 22nd for at least two weeks.
They are fighting internal spread of it. Everybody who got into Ghana as of Thursday last week was quarantined and keep in hotels that Ghanaian government has taken over for this measure.
They are sanitizing their streets and markets and people are adhering and avoiding large social gatherings. Even the hotel staffs were well protected.
I’m in a nice hotel room typing this. Being fed, housed and cared for by the Ghanaian government to avoid me spreading Coronavirus should I have it.
When I heard they would shut down their Airport and land borders, I did everthing to leave Nigeria. Because, I rather be quarantined in Ghana, where they are more serious. Than be in Nigeria where our president has addressed the nation once, couldn’t even pronounce the name of the virus. And, all other government officials are not serious….except it affects them and their families.
I’m quarantined and I’ll be here till my test results come back.
Story Credit: Vivian Iwuoha