In April this year when Nigerian workers were forced to work from home due to COVID-19, it came as a pleasant surprise to many. Workers in Lagos were particularly excited by the prospect of finally being able to avoid the typical stress associated with commuting in Africa’s most populated city.
Note that this excitement was not peculiar to Nigerian workers alone. Across some of the world’s biggest cities, there was a general consensus about how the opportunity to avoid daily commute was one of the major advantages presented by the global pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns that followed it. A recent report by The Japan Times said about 70% of Japanese wanted to keep working from home even after the lockdown, just so they wouldn’t have to grapple with the challenges of commuting. Another report by the Wall Street Journal revealed similar findings.
Effects of lockdown easing on working from home in Nigeria
Back home in Nigeria, many of the professionals who initially favoured the idea of indefinitely working from home, soon became bored as the lockdown persisted. They longed to return to their offices. However, this wasn’t quite going to happen. Despite the fact that the Federal Government had introduced the “phased and gradual” easing of the lockdown in early May, some employers directed their employees to keep working from home, out of fear of the contagious Coronavirus.
Fast-forward to the end of June, and quite a number of Nigerian professionals are still working from home. Nowadays, some people only go to the office when they absolutely need to. It’s indeed a new normal, one that has its advantages and disadvantages.
What professionals think about working from home
Godswill Ifegwu, a Lagos-based auditor, told Nairametrics that his employer still requires him to work from home in the meantime. And he likes this arrangement, as a matter of fact, only preferring the occasional trip to the office. He said:
“I am still required to work from home. I’d prefer to work from home indefinitely, with the occasional trips to the office that would not require me to join the mounting traffic.
“The disadvantage of working from home for me, though, is the unstable electricity and poor/expensive internet packages. Also, how easily one can get distracted, although this also happens at the office… I think in addition to working from home, companies can make use of co-working hubs where team members living within the same locality can go to work sometimes. This is important because sometimes, working with a team and communicating with them face to face, can be more efficient.”
Some bankers are also still required to work from home
Although many Nigerian banks have re-opened a lot of their branches across the country, they are still allowing some of their staff to work from home. A good example of such staff is Olumide Moses, a corporate communications specialist in a bank. He told Nairametrics he only goes to the office when he absolutely needs to be there.
“I am able to work from home. I’m still working from home even after easing the lockdown. I only go to the office when I need to do a task that might require me to work from the office. And yes, I do prefer working from home. The stress of traffic, waking up early and getting home late is eliminated.
“For me, working from home actually increases my productivity and creativity. You get to design your work environment and ease flexibility. Today I can work from my room, next to the parlour, another time in the car. Depending on what needs to be done. There’s less Physical contact with people.
“However, I must say that somehow it feels like I now work for extended hours. Sometimes, there’s no defined closing period. Calls can come in at odd hours.
“There’s also the issue of spending more on data and fuel to avoid giving an excuse as to why work is not delivered. If you are not disciplined enough and manage your time well, you may also get lazy and deliver late on tasks.
“There are also so many virtual meetings that clash with each other. Can be very frustrating. The network can be very disappointing.”
Another banker, who works at Access Bank but refused to be named as he is not allowed to speak to the press, said more of his colleagues have started working from the office again. However, he still works remotely, although chances are, he too would be required to resume back at the office by July. He said he prefers working from home and will appreciate it if his employer might consider giving employers some days to work remotely by the time everyone is finally back to the office.
In the meantime, while he continues to work from home, the Access Bank employee said he often relies on his colleagues in the office to provide him access to some sensitive documents that are not accessible from home. Apparently, the inability to access sensitive documents from home has been one of the biggest disadvantages of working from home for bankers. Recall that Nairametrics previously reported about how this contributed to a high rate of unresolved customer complaints during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Some employers directed their staff to resume immediately after the lockdown was eased
Interestingly, some companies have already directed all their staff to return back the office. A worker in the accounts department of Nigerite Limited, who pleaded anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter, told Nairametrics that workers in all the departments in the company are back to working from the whilst. However, strict guidelines were put in place to ensure physical distancing and hygiene. The source also added that it never seemed as if the company’s management was ever considering making remote working a permanent part of their routine.
“The accounts department worked from home because even though production stopped, there was still a lot to do. Salaries were still being paid, and sales were also being made. The commercial and sales department also worked because there were lots of roofing and flooring materials already produced that had to be sold off. The Health and Safety department also had to come up with modalities to be used in the workplace post-lockdown,” he said.
Speaking further, the source explained that working from home had its challenges especially in Nigeria where power supply is epileptic and access to internet connection is unstable. For him, even though working from home was less stressful, it was just as expensive as coming to the office. As a matter of fact, he expressed his indifference to the management’s decision to discontinue remote working as soon as the lockdown was over.
“The only gainful thing with remote working is that we do not spend time in traffic anymore, but in terms of costs, you end up spending your transportation fare to fuel your generator,” he added.
Respondents focused on the advantages and disadvantages of working from home
For Cyril Imafidon, a Business Intelligence Analyst with SmatData Limited, working from home has helped to improve his productivity in many ways. He explained that prior to the lockdown, the time spent in traffic on the Third Mainland Bridge every morning would ordinarily sap out mental vitality from every employee, thereby leaving them to resume at the office half-way exhausted. This in turn often meant that mental activities would become more tasking more than they normally should be. However, working from home, he said, has been ‘eventful and improved productivity’.
“The opportunity to get to work refreshed without having to deal with sour tempers and traffic on Lagos roads is really the best part of it all,” he said.
He also noted that even though his office allowed remote working prior to the lockdown, he never really took advantage of it until the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. He however admitted that it requires a lot of discipline and focus to get the best out while working remotely.
“Generally, you need more discipline to keep distractions away and be able to focus on your task. There’s this tendency for you to want to rest more often than you would normally rest when you are in the office. If you are not disciplined enough, you might become unproductive,” he warned.
Despite the easing of the lockdown, Imafidon has continued working from home with the approval of his employers. He said that besides the unstable internet connection which interrupts his task, remote working is generally a better option.
Daniel Jacob, a software developer with one of Nigeria’s tier-1 banks, also told Nairametrics that remote working has had positive impacts on his productivity. According to him, working from home gave him more time to learn about some of the frameworks and tools needed for his personal and professional development.
Daniel admitted that he was initially frustrated when the remote work policy was implemented by his bank. This is because “at first, it was frustrating because of the demands from the office and the timeline to finish up. But as it’s the case with everything, it eventually became soft work.”
Now, even after the lockdown, he still supports remote working mainly because it caused “my productivity to rise through the roof.” He also commended his employer for making sure that software developers were made very comfortable during the lockdown.
Nigerian professionals are now used to remote working and are ready to demand it
Having had a full taste of remote working, some Nigerian professionals now feel like it should become the norm. Ozoemena Noel Nonso, who works with Creative Intelligence Group, told Nairametrics that after his positive remote working experience with his current employer, he would never in the future consider working with a company that does not have a work from home policy.
“We already had a work from home policy prior to the lockdown, so it was not a difficult adjustment,” he said, adding, “however, I do more now… I love working from home. I wouldn’t take a job without a work from home policy now.”
With additional reporting by Ruth Ukwumbu and William Ukpe
COVID-19: Russia produces first batch of its newly approved vaccine
Russia announced on Saturday, August 15, 2020, that it has produced the first batch of its newly approved vaccine, Sputnik V, hours after the health ministry reported the start of its production.
The disclosure was made in a statement by the Russian Health Ministry and quoted by Russian news agencies.
This is coming some days after the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, announced the registration of the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine in what could be described as a step ahead of other vaccine developments.
The announcement is seen as a propaganda coup for the Russian government against the west amid a global race to develop vaccines against the coronavirus disease.
The announcement of the vaccine registration by Putin was met with caution from scientists and the World Health Organization (WHO), who said that it still needed a rigorous safety review. Some of the scientists fear that with this fast regulatory approval, Russia may be putting national prestige ahead of safety.
Putin had said the vaccine was safe and that one of his own daughters had been inoculated, although the final stage testing involving over 2,000 people just started this week. Such trials are considered very important before a vaccine can secure regulatory approval.
Russia has said the vaccine which is the first for the coronavirus disease to go into production, will be rolled out by the end of August.
The Gamaleya Research Institute, which developed the vaccine in collaboration with the Russian Defence Ministry, said that Russia would be producing about 5 million doses a month by December or January.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 14th of August 2020, 329 new confirmed cases and 7 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increase as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 48,445 confirmed cases.
On the 14th of August 2020, 329 new confirmed cases and 7 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 2,976 samples across the country.
To date, 48,445 cases have been confirmed, 35,998 cases have been discharged and 973 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 344,397 tests have been carried out as of August 14th, 2020 compared to 341,421 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 14th August 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 48,445
- Total Number Discharged – 34,998
- Total Deaths – 973
- Total Tests Carried out – 344,397
According to the NCDC, the 329 new cases were reported from 21 states- Lagos (113), Kaduna (49), FCT (33), Plateau (24), Kano (16), Edo (15), Ogun (14), Delta (13), Osun (10), Oyo (8), Ekiti (6) Bayelsa (6), Akwa Ibom (5), Borno (4), Enugu (4), Ebonyi (3), Rivers (2), Bauchi (1), Nasarawa (1), Gombe (1) and Niger (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 16,369, followed by Abuja (4,665), Oyo (2,943), Edo (2,414), Rivers (1,993), Kaduna (1,755),Plateau (1,689), Kano (1,677), Delta (1,639), Ogun (1,535), Ondo (1,373), Enugu (980), Ebonyi (911), Kwara (888), Katsina (746), Osun (729), Borno (702), Abia (677), Gombe (648), and Bauchi (581).
Imo State has recorded 494 cases, Benue (430), Nasarawa (373), Bayelsa (352), Jigawa (322), Akwa Ibom (246), Niger (229), Ekiti (200), Adamawa (185), Anambra (156), Sokoto (154), Kebbi (90), Taraba (78), Zamfara (77), Cross River (73), Yobe (67), 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.
|Date||Confirmed case||New cases||Total deaths||New deaths||Total recovery||Active cases||Critical cases|
|August 14, 2020||48445||329||973||7||35998||11474||7|
|August 13, 2020||48116||373||966||10||34309||12841||7|
|August 12, 2020||47743||453||956||0||33943||12844||7|
|August 11, 2020||47290||423||956||6||33609||12725||7|
|August 10, 2020||46867||290||950||5||33346||12571||7|
|August 9, 2020||46577||437||945||3||33186||12446||7|
|August 8, 2020||46140||453||942||6||33044||12154||7|
|August 7, 2020||45687||443||936||6||32637||12114||7|
|August 6, 2020||45244||354||930||3||32430||11884||7|
|August 5, 2020||44890||457||927||17||32165||11798||7|
|August 4, 2020||44433||304||910||14||31851||11672||7|
|August 3, 2020||44129||288||896||8||20663||22570||7|
|August 2, 2020||43841||304||888||5||20308||22645||7|
|August 1, 2020||43537||386||883||4||20287||22567||7|
|July 31, 2020||43151||462||879||1||19565||22707||7|
|July 30, 2020||42689||481||878||5||19270||22541||7|
|July 29, 2020||42208||404||873||5||19004||22331||7|
|July 28, 2020||41804||624||868||8||18764||22172||7|
|July 27, 2020||41180||648||860||2||18203||22117||7|
|July 26, 2020||40532||555||858||2||17374||22300||7|
|July 25, 2020||39977||438||856||11||16948||22173||7|
|July 24, 2020||39539||591||845||12||16559||22135||7|
|July 23, 2020||38948||604||833||20||16061||22054||7|
|July 22, 2020||38344||543||813||8||15815||21716||7|
|July 21, 2020||37801||576||805||4||15677||21319||7|
|July 20, 2020||37225||562||801||12||15333||21091||7|
|July 19, 2020||36663||556||789||11||15105||20769||7|
|July 18, 2020||36107||653||778||6||14938||20391||7|
|July 17, 2020||35454||600||772||3||14633||20049||7|
|July 16, 2020||34854||595||769||9||14292||19793||7|
|July 15, 2020||34259||643||760||6||13999||19500||7|
|July 14, 2020||33616||463||754||10||13792||19070||7|
|July 13, 2020||33153||595||744||4||13671||18738||7|
|July 12, 2020||32558||571||740||16||13447||18371||7|
|July 11, 2020||31987||664||724||15||13103||18160||7|
|July 10, 2020||31323||575||709||20||12795||17819||7|
|July 9, 2020||30748||499||689||5||12546||17513||7|
|July 8, 2020||30249||460||684||15||12373||17192||7|
|July 7, 2020||29789||503||669||15||12108||17012||7|
|July 6, 2020||29286||575||654||9||11828||16804||7|
|July 5, 2020||28711||544||645||11||11665||16401||7|
|July 4, 2020||28167||603||634||6||11462||16071||7|
|July 3, 2020||27564||454||628||12||11069||15867||7|
|July 2, 2020||27110||626||616||13||10801||15693||7|
|July 1, 2020||26484||790||603||13||10152||15729||7|
|June 30, 2020||25694||561||590||17||9746||15358||7|
|June 29, 2020||25133||566||573||8||9402||15158||7|
|June 28, 2020||24867||490||565||7||9007||14995||7|
|June 27, 2020||24077||779||558||4||8625||14894||7|
|June 26, 2020||23298||684||554||5||8253||14491||7|
|June 25, 2020||22614||594||549||7||7822||14243||7|
|June 24, 2020||22020||649||542||9||7613||13865||7|
|June 23, 2020||21371||452||533||8||7338||13500||7|
|June 22, 2020||20919||675||525||7||7109||13285||7|
|June 21, 2020||20242||436||518||12||6879||12847||7|
|June 20, 2020||19808||661||506||19||6718||12584||7|
|June 19, 2020||19147||667||487||12||6581||12079||7|
|June 18, 2020||18480||745||475||6||6307||11698||7|
|June 17, 2020||17735||587||469||14||5967||11299||7|
|June 16, 2020||17148||490||455||31||5623||11070||7|
|June 15, 2020||16658||573||424||4||5349||10885||7|
|June 14, 2020||16085||403||420||13||5220||10445||7|
|June 13, 2020||15682||501||407||8||5101||10174||7|
|June 12, 2020||15181||627||399||12||4891||9891||7|
|June 11, 2020||14554||681||387||5||4494||9673||7|
|June 10, 2020||13873||409||382||17||4351||9140||7|
|June 9, 2020||13464||663||365||4||4206||8893||7|
|June 8, 2020||12801||315||361||7||4040||8400||7|
|June 7, 2020||12486||260||354||12||3959||8173||7|
|June 6, 2020||12233||389||342||9||3826||8065||7|
|June 5, 2020||11844||328||333||10||3696||7815||7|
|June 4, 2020||11516||350||323||8||3535||7646||7|
|June 3, 2020||11166||348||315||1||3329||7522||7|
|June 2, 2020||10819||241||314||15||3239||7266||7|
|June 1, 2020||10578||416||299||12||3122||7157||9|
|May 31, 2020||10162||307||287||14||3007||6868||7|
|May 30, 2020||9855||553||273||12||2856||6726||7|
|May 29, 2020||9302||387||261||2||2697||6344||7|
|May 28, 2020||8915||182||259||5||2592||6064||7|
|May 27, 2020||8733||389||254||5||2501||5978||7|
|May 26, 2020||8344||276||249||16||2385||5710||7|
|May 25, 2020||8068||229||233||7||2311||5524||7|
|May 24, 2020||7839||313||226||5||2263||5360||7|
|May 23, 2020||7526||265||221||0||2174||5131||7|
|May 22, 2020||7261||245||221||10||2007||5033||7|
|May 21, 2020||7016||339||211||11||1907||4898||7|
|May 20, 2020||6677||284||200||8||1840||4637||7|
|May 19, 2020||6401||226||192||1||1734||4475||7|
|May 18, 2020||6175||216||191||9||1644||4340||7|
|May 17, 2020||5959||388||182||6||1594||4183||7|
|May 16, 2020||5621||176||176||5||1472||3973||7|
|May 15, 2020||5445||288||171||3||1320||3954||4|
|May 14, 2020||5162||193||168||3||1180||3815||4|
|May 13, 2020||4971||184||164||6||1070||3737||4|
|May 12, 2020||4787||146||158||6||959||3670||4|
|May 11, 2020||4641||242||152||10||902||3589||4|
|May 10, 2020||4399||248||142||17||778||3479||4|
|May 9, 2020||4151||239||127||11||745||3278||4|
|May 8, 2020||3912||386||118||10||679||3115||4|
|May 7, 2020||3526||381||108||4||601||2818||4|
|May 6, 2020||3145||195||104||5||534||2507||1|
|May 5, 2020||2950||148||99||5||481||2370||4|
|May 4, 2020||2802||245||94||6||417||2291||2|
|May 3, 2020||2558||170||88||2||400||2070||2|
|May 2, 2020||2388||220||86||17||351||1952||2|
|May 1, 2020||2170||238||69||10||351||1751||2|
|April 30, 2020||1932||204||59||7||317||1556||2|
|April 29, 2020||1728||196||52||7||307||1369||2|
|April 28, 2020||1532||195||45||4||255||1232||2|
|April 27, 2020||1337||64||41||0||255||994||2|
|April 26, 2020||1273||91||41||5||239||994||2|
|April 25, 2020||1182||87||36||3||222||925||2|
|April 24, 2020||1095||114||33||1||208||855||2|
|April 23, 2020||981||108||32||3||197||753||2|
|April 22, 2020||873||91||29||3||197||648||2|
|April 21, 2020||782||117||26||3||197||560||2|
|April 20, 2020||665||38||23||1||188||466||2|
|April 19, 2020||627||86||22||2||170||436||2|
|April 18, 2020||541||48||20||2||166||356||2|
|April 17, 2020||493||51||18||4||159||317||2|
|April 16, 2020||442||35||13||1||152||277||2|
|April 15, 2020||407||34||12||1||128||267||2|
|April 14, 2020||373||30||11||1||99||263||2|
|April 13, 2020||343||20||10||0||91||242||2|
|April 12, 2020||323||5||10||0||85||228||2|
|April 11, 2020||318||13||10||3||70||238||2|
|April 10, 2020||305||17||7||0||58||240||2|
|April 9, 2020||288||14||7||1||51||230||2|
|April 8, 2020||274||22||6||0||44||226||2|
|April 7, 2020||254||16||6||1||44||204||2|
|April 6, 2020||238||6||5||0||35||198||2|
|April 5, 2020||232||18||5||1||33||194||2|
|April 4, 2020||214||5||4||0||25||185||0|
|April 3, 2020||209||25||4||2||25||180||0|
|April 2, 2020||184||10||2||0||20||162||0|
|April 1, 2020||174||35||2||0||9||163||0|
|March 31, 2020||139||8||2||0||9||128||0|
|March 30, 2020||131||20||2||1||8||121||0|
|March 29, 2020||111||22||1||0||3||107||0|
|March 28, 2020||89||19||1||0||3||85||0|
|March 27, 2020||70||5||1||0||3||66||0|
|March 26, 2020||65||14||1||0||2||62||0|
|March 25, 2020||51||7||1||0||2||48||0|
|March 24, 2020||44||4||1||0||2||41||0|
|March 23, 2020||40||10||1||1||2||37||0|
|March 22, 2020||30||8||0||0||2||28||0|
|March 21, 2020||22||10||0||0||1||21||0|
|March 20, 2020||12||4||0||0||1||11||0|
|March 19, 2020||8||0||0||0||1||7||0|
|March 18, 2020||8||5||0||0||1||7||0|
|March 17, 2020||3||1||0||0||0||3||0|
|March 16, 2020||2||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 15, 2020||2||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 14, 2020||2||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 13, 2020||2||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 12, 2020||2||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 11, 2020||2||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 10, 2020||2||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 9, 2020||2||1||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 8, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|March 7, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|March 6, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|March 5, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|March 4, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|March 3, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|March 2, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|March 1, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|February 29, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|February 28, 2020||1||1||0||0||0||1||0|
COVID-19: Nigeria, 6 other African countries to start antibodies tests next week
These countries are the first set of countries to commit to the testing.
Nigeria and 6 other African countries will start conducting coronavirus antibodies tests as early as next week, as part of efforts to understand the extent of the outbreak on the continent.
Apart from Nigeria, the other African countries that will benefit from this include Sierra Leone, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, and Morocco.
While making the disclosure in Addis Ababa, the head of the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong, said that these countries are the first set of countries to commit to it.
Western countries have been using antibody tests to discover how many of their citizens have been infected by the coronavirus disease, with the expectation that will help them reopen their economies.
This new development is coming some days after the Nigerian Government started negotiations with prospective COVID-19 vaccine distributors to the country ahead of their availability.
The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who kick-started the negotiation on behalf of the Federal Government, in a virtual meeting with representatives of the vaccine candidate, told the co-discussants that Nigeria must be given priority when COVID-19 vaccine is ready for distribution.
Nkengasong said that Africa has so far conducted 9.4 million coronavirus tests, a 10% increase over last week. These tests show whether people currently have the coronavirus disease.
Experts said that the low levels of testing in many countries mean that Africa’s infection rates could be higher than being reported.
He said that 25 African countries still have full border closures, with 23 imposing tests at entry points. He also stressed on the need to harmonize border testing and recognize certificates in order to facilitate travel.