Amidst the evolving strategies and initiatives to halt the spread of coronavirus pandemic around the globe, shifting consumer behavior to online trade channels and digital platforms can provide the needed incentive to keep people safe and by extension promote the growth of Nigeria’s e-commerce industry.
Keeping safe and staying alive is everyone’s most cherished watchword at this time. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in many of the countries including Nigeria is not abating despite concerted steps by governments, private sector players, multilateral organisations and other stakeholders to halt the rate of transmission.
In the face of the escalation of the pandemic, the Nigerian government and 36 state governments are strengthening enforcement and compliance of residents with the stay-at-home order aimed to check movement of people.
By implication, Nigerians will stay at home for longer days, weeks or even months. Disruption in the logistics and supply chain that has already affected the availability of basic essential goods will also be disrupted further. The likelihood of a shortage of foods, water, toiletries, drugs and other essential items may result in days to come, as existing products in the warehouses and those on the shelves at the supermarkets and malls may run out.
As farmers are unable to go to farms and producers unable to produce more products or push out inventories in the warehouses, zero productivity and deserted open market stalls would further impact negatively on the already weak national economy.
As the ongoing multi-stakeholder actions redouble to end COVID-19, it is salutary to mention the important role that logistics service operators have been playing in helping to keep people safe at home since the commencement of the presidential 14-day lockdown in Lagos and Ogun States and Abuja, on March 29, which has seen a further 2 weeks extension till the end of April.
Jumia has been at the forefront of e-Commerce operators in Nigeria that has implemented a deliberate strategy to promote the safety of Nigerians in the midst of COVID-19.
Aligned with its recent COVID-19 inspired campaign theme, ‘Stay Safe with Jumia. Shop from home and have it delivered contact-free!’, Jumia promotes ‘cashless’ payments and ‘contactless’ delivery of prepaid packages to curb COVID-19 in Africa. The ingenuity entails taking measures that keep customers, delivery agents and partners safe by leveraging on JumiaPay payment platform that enables consumers to make prepaid payments for products online and get them delivered without a direct body contact or cash exchange with the delivery agents.
Recently, Jumia has announced partnerships with brands like Reckitt Benckiser, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola to enable customers to have access to essential hygiene products at affordable prices during the lockdown.
According to Massimiliano Spalazzi, CEO of Jumia Nigeria, the company’s well-trained delivery agents enforce necessary standards during delivery of products purchased and paid for online, to the customers at home. They are instructed to call or text on arrival at the customer’s place and drop off the package at their doorstep, then step back to the safe distance limit and wait for the customer to take the package before leaving.
“The health and safety of our customers and delivery agents are our absolute priority. We are uniquely positioned to step up and be part of Africa’s response strategy in this challenging time. We have implemented a “contactless” delivery option, which eliminates any possibility of physical contact. Convenience, social distancing and cashless measures are woven into one solution to combat the current situation,” Spalazzi stated.
Other logistics firms like Konga, Jiji are encouraged to adopt Jumia’s contactless delivery model so the country can reduce person-to-person transmission of coronavirus while at the same time help to meet the surge in demand for essential goods and services already triggered by lockdown in most parts of Nigeria.
It is worthy of commendation to also note that through Jumia Logistics, the leading e-Commerce company has been enabling micro, small and medium businesses to stay afloat amidst the pandemic while at the same time ensuring people get their essential needs delivered to them in the comfort of their homes and keep safe.
Even ahead of the outbreak of coronavirus in Nigeria, Jumia had responded to the challenges within the Nigeria logistics ecosystem by developing the appropriate technology and data-driven model. It did this by opening up its logistics and marketing services to third parties and partners including Gokada and restaurant, kitchen, ticketing and airline service providers.
Through its vast data-driven logistics and huge online marketplace, Jumia facilitates one big virtual meeting place for MSMEs, retailers and buyers to provide end-to-end contactless supply and demand chain.
Commenting on the Jumia Logistics, Country Manager for Jumia Services, Tolulope Geroge-Yanwah, said Jumia leverages major pillars to scale its third-party logistics service, and these include unparalleled physical and network infrastructure; and its people.
Others are its proprietary technology tools powering the entire network; its scale and its omnipresence – 25% of deliveries in 2019 was in rural areas, 50% in urban cities, and 25% in small cities.
Also, Jumia Nigeria through its point-to-point line hauls services has an established network that can handle bulk movements in key markets across different product categories. It also backstops for third parties by providing highly skilled and trained manpower in tackling logistics challenges.
A shift to the online trade channels can indeed, provide Nigerians with the needed incentive to keep safe and by extension promote the growth of Nigeria’s e-commerce industry in the midst of the increasing rate of coronavirus transmission.
Jumia beyond any reasonable doubt has proven to be the number one e-Commerce and logistics enabler and safest way to shop as the COVID-19 scourge rages. Its unwavering commitment to investment and innovation has also endeared it as the number one preferred online platform of choice that has played and continues to play critical roles in our socio-economic life as individuals, households, firms and government and the future.
These and many more are reasons the government should accord e-Commerce operators their right place, as done in other developed countries where e-Commerce platforms serve as the critical logistics and supply backbone during emergency situations including the time of lockdown.
In the wake of the rising spread of coronavirus, countries such as China, U.S., UK, Spain, Italy and others relied on e-Commerce channels for the logistics and supply of food, water, drugs, toiletries and essential needs to the people during lockdowns. In the U.S., e-commerce giant Amazon even implemented fresh employment of over 100,000 Americans as a result of increased orders for supplies occasioned by the COVID-19 outbreak.
WHO approves protocol for phase 3 clinical trials for COVID-19 herbal medicine
A COVID-19 herbal medicine has gained approval by WHO for phase 3 clinical trial.
The World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union Commission for Social Affairs, has approved a protocol for phase 3 clinical trials of herbal medicine for Covid-19.
The Regional Expert Committee on Traditional Medicine for Covid-19, which was formed by the 3 institutions, while giving the approval also endorsed a charter and terms of reference for the establishment of a data and safety monitoring board for herbal medicine clinical trials.
The Director Universal Health Coverage and Life Course Cluster at WHO Regional Office for Africa, Dr Tumusiime, said, “Just like other areas of medicine, sound science is the sole basis for safe and effective traditional medicine therapies. The onset of COVID-19, like the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, has highlighted the need for strengthened health systems and accelerated research and development programmes, including on traditional medicines.’’
The technical documents that were approved are aimed at empowering and developing a critical mass of technical capacity of scientists in Africa to conduct proper clinical trials to ensure quality, safety and efficacy of traditional medicines in line with international standards.
This appears to add to the global effort to develop vaccines for the coronavirus disease, which are at different trial stages. The WHO had disclosed that there are well over 100 Covid-19 vaccines currently under development across the globe with about 8 of them at the phase 3 trial stage.
The phase 3 clinical trials are quite crucial in fully assessing the safety and efficacy of a new medical product. The data safety and monitoring board will ensure that the accumulated studies data are reviewed periodically against participants’ safety.
The late-stage trial will also make recommendations on the continuation, modification or termination of a trial, based on evaluation of data at predetermined periods during the study.
Dr Tumusiime explained that if a traditional medicine product is found to be safe, efficacious and quality assured, the WHO will recommend for a fast-tracked, large-scale local manufacturing. The WHO also noted that through the African Vaccine Regulatory Forum, there is now a benchmark upon which clinical trials of medicines and vaccines in the region can be assessed and approved in less than 60 days.
The Expert Committee Chairman, Professor Motlalepula Gilbert Matsabisa said, “The adoption of the technical documents will ensure that universally acceptable clinical evidence of the efficacy of herbal medicines for the treatment of COVID-19 is generated without compromising the safety of participants.”
The 25-member Regional Expert Advisory Committee on Traditional Medicine for Covid-19 was mandated to support countries to improve on research and development of traditional medicine based therapies against the virus.
It is to also provide guidance on the implementation of the approved protocols to generate scientific evidence on the quality, safety and efficacy of herbal medicines for Covid-19.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 20th of September 2020, 97 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 57,242 confirmed cases.
On the 20th of September 2020, 97 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 2,609 samples across the country.
To date, 57,242 cases have been confirmed, 48,569 cases have been discharged and 1,098 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 482,321 tests have been carried out as of September 20th, 2020 compared to 479,712 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 20th September 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 57,242
- Total Number Discharged – 48,569
- Total Deaths – 1,098
- Total Tests Carried out – 482,321
According to the NCDC, the 97 new cases were reported from 12 states- Lagos (46), Kwara (12), Rivers (11), Adamawa (4), Niger (4), Ogun (4), Osun (4), Ekiti (3), Imo (3), Kaduna (3), Plateau (2), FCT (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 18,943, followed by Abuja (5,551), Oyo (3,231), Plateau (3,231), Edo (2,611), Kaduna (2,348), Rivers (2,243), Delta (1,799), Ogun (1,766), Kano (1,734), Ondo (1,597), Enugu (1,234), Ebonyi (1,038), Kwara (1,025), Abia (881), Katsina (848), Osun (817), Gombe (799), Borno (741), and Bauchi (689).
Imo State has recorded 562 cases, Benue (473), Nasarawa (448), Bayelsa (394), Jigawa (322), Ekiti (317), Akwa Ibom (288), Niger (254), Adamawa (234), Anambra (232), Sokoto (161), Taraba (95), Kebbi (93), Cross River (85), Zamfara (78), Yobe (75), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
Godwin Obaseki wins Edo State governorship election
Incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki emerged winner in the Edo State gubernatorial election.
Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) has declared Godwin Obaseki the winner of the Edo State gubernatorial election today.
Mr. Obaseki will return as the Governor of the state for a second term.
The results were declared by INEC on Sunday afternoon after the results were counted from all LGA’s on Saturday.
Obaseki had 307,955 votes, which was enough to be declared a clear winner over Ize-Iyamu’s 223,619 votes.
Obaseki took to his Twitter handle to thank the people of Edo State for their votes. He stated,
“Words fail me in saluting our teeming supporters who displayed immense courage in the face of threats, intimidation and brutalization. The collective will of Edo people made it possible for us to triumph over godfatherism. Congratulations to all Edo people. This is our victory!”
Words fail me in saluting our teeming supporters who displayed immense courage in the face of threats, intimidation and brutalization. The collective will of Edo people made it possible for us to triumph over godfatherism. Congratulations to all Edo people. This is our victory! pic.twitter.com/4X4Lfk3wMb
— Godwin Obaseki (GGO) (@GovernorObaseki) September 20, 2020