CHRISTMAS has always offered opportunities for people to reunite, mingle, bubble and party in churches, marriage ceremonies, launchings and other social events. In fact, they are the fun in the celebration.
FOR the first time in history, world leaders are saddled with working out ways of limiting movements, family unions, clusters, parties and all forms of ceremony that will brings people together at Christmas. More thanks to the coronavirus pandemic which has posed serious threats to various countries of the world.
FOR over a year now, many countries, including Nigeria have battled to curtail the spread of the disease through various means including lockdowns, social distancing, frequent washing of hands with soap and running water or application of alcohol based hand sanitisers, wearing of facemasks, among others, while researchers worked to develop vaccines to protect against infection since the hope of having a permanent cure to the disease is not yet in sight.
JUST as hope of conquering the disease started rising with the approval of some vaccines for the prevention, experts began to warn against relaxing on guards against the disease which could trigger a second wave of the pandemic, particularly as the Yuletide season gets underway. While people were still trying to come to terms with what that means, the dreaded second wave set in.
AS WE write, the already declining number of infections, deaths and discharged persons across the world is increasing with Christmas only three days away.
ALREADY, many countries are locking down, closing down schools, churches and banning all forms of public gathering, among others. For example, Germany banned sale of traditional mulled wine and waffles for Christmas and approved get together for close family members. Canada banned all forms of fanfare at Christmas. Belgium and Luxembourg approved only one guest per household or two for people living alone with curfews on Christmas Eve.
While Britain permits get together of not more than three households, Italy, apart from effectively banning travels between regions from December 21 to January 6, has tighter controls for local travels on Christmas Eve and Christmas day which include a curfew.
IN NIGERIA, many states like Lagos, Ebonyi, Akwa Ibom, Ekiti and even the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), among others have once again banned large gatherings as at last week.
IN ANAMBRA State, the government through the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C. Don Adinuba, in a release titled, ‘Christmas/New Year Advisory to Anambra People,’ reminded the people that the whole world is still passing through a very unusual time, caused by coronavirus and that large gatherings are not encouraged this time in the interests of our people.
ACCORDING to him, “whereas the normal social activities will go on during this season, Ndi Anambra are advised to limit the number of people attending various social functions at any given time. Social activities during this season should become super spread events for COVID-19 pandemic.
“THE belief in some quarters that COVID-19 is over is false and misleading. In fact, there is a spike around the globe right now, and many ndi Anambra, their friends and in-laws are coming home from countries with high incidences of COVID-19 infections and fatalities. Even here in Nigeria, there are growing incidences in some states which may well be experiencing a second wave of the pandemic; many of our people are returning for Christmas and New Year from such states”.
HE ENJOINED ndi Anambra to attend social functions which are absolutely necessary and always observe a social distance of at least two metres. “They are also encouraged to wear the face mask which must cover their noses and mouths, wash their hands regularly with running water and soap and apply hand sanitisers frequently. In addition, they are to cover their mouths with their elbows or disposable serviettes when they cough”.
ADINUBA urged any person who loses his or her sense of taste or smell or experiences fever to go for COVID-19 test. “Even persons who do not show symptoms of the disease are encouraged to go for the test. Both the testing and treatment remain free in Anambra State.”
WE JOIN the various governments and experts in the health sector to urge people to abide by the released guidelines.
AFTER ALL, Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ who came to save the world and not to destroy it. People should note that the celebration is to mark the coming of the Messiah and Redeemer of the world and avoid being carried away by the euphoria amid danger. They should avoid doing things they will regret.
SINCE the reason for Christmas is love, charity, good neighborliness and sacrifice to all mankind, not only to relations, those who cannot travel can share love, give out gifts to the less privileged around them. After all, there are so many ways to show love and charity without clustering in a place which is dangerous at this time.
AGAIN, most of the guidelines allow mingling while keeping to the protocols in order to still flow with the old tradition of sharing love and gifts, among others, instead of willingly killing our loved ones through our actions and inactions regarding celebrating in the new normal.
WE ARE aware that these guidelines affect everyone but we need to be strong and persevere.
IF ANYTHING, let’s do it for our families and friends. Let us by our actions this period; show that we truly love our neighbors. It’s not too much a sacrifice.