The Place Of Religion And Faith In The  Global Fight Against Coronavirus Disease(covid-19).

Click for Full Image Size

A JOURNALIST, founder and chief executive of Rave FM radio station in Osogbo, the state Osun in Nigeria, Mr. 'Femi Adefila, has called on Nigerians and people around nations of the world irrespective of their religion or believe to be prayerful, move closer to God and be strengthened in faith, with the tension and fear created by the global outbreak of the deadly coronavirus disease(covid-19), which has ravaged the health and economy of many people and nations around the world.

He made the remark on Sunday 22nd March, 2020 as a special guest at an interactive weekly radio discussion program titled: "Issues In Christendom," with the regular anchor and his co-presenter, Pastor Steve Akinwumi of the Daily Rhema Christian center Osogbo and Dr. Adeoye Oyewole, a Baptist Pastor and a consultant Psychiatrist with the Lagoke Akintola university teaching hospital Osogbo in the state of Osun Nigeria.

Mr. Adefila observed that the outbreak and the geographical rapid spread of covid-19 has put many families, homes and nations into mourning and has affected the faith and believe of many people around the world.

Many Christians and non- Christians around the world believe covid-19 is a plague sent by God to destroy mankind as a result of their sins. A large number of people also panic with the fear that it is the beginning of the end of the world.

Mr. Adefila, a devout Christian and a preacher and advocate of the bible new testament teachings strongly opposed public views that covid-19 was a plague from God to destroy the world. God he said, created man in his own image and likeness, he loves us and always show us mercy whenever we err. He further stressed that God sent his only son, Jesus Christ to die for the remission of our sins to bring man back to God. "So the God we serve is kind and merciful," he said.

He admonished Christians facing challenges or in any dire circumstances in life to strengthen their faith and be prayerful because God is always there for us to protect, guard and guide us. "God does not use plague or disaster to draw people to himself," he said.

As a veteran Journalist, Mr. Adefila advised Journalists and people on social media to be careful and conscious of what they write or post about the disease so that people are not misinformed to intensify their fear to behave wrongly, "Fear is of the devil and has its negative effect and consequences on man," he said.

He says leaders in churches and Mosques must take advantage of the present health situation of the world to inform and educate their congregation to be obedient as God’s commandments in the Quaran and the Holy Bible to government rules and regulations as important measures to curb the spread of covid-19 in every nation of the world. "Covid-19 has come and it will soon vanish," he said.

Pastor Akinwumi in his own contribution to the discuss said, sin has been with mankind since creation. Adam and Even he says in the garden of Eden sinned against God. Though God was annoyed for the sin they committed, he however did not send any plague to destroy them. So covid-19, he says is not from God to punish mankind, it is as a result an error by man for which the entire world is suffering.

He cited many verses in the bible to support this fact, the most prominent example of which was the case of a man born blind from birth and Jesus' deciples asked him who sinned that he was born blind, the blind man or his parents? Jesus told them, the man was born blind not because he or his parents committed any sin but for people to see and testify to the greatness of God.

The plague sent upon the Egyptians in the days of King Pharaoh, he says was to free the Israelites from their captivity and suffering.

In today's growing world of science and with many people shying away from the realities of the bible and the word of God, many he says presume, we are at the end of the last days which the bible says perilous things beyond human understanding will be happening around the world and it is only those who pray and put their trust in God that will be saved.

The popular song titled: Lead us, Heavenly Father, Lead us written by the British Poet, James Edmeston in 1821 is a prayer song all of us in the world today must sing daily during our quiet time. The three stanza hymn written for the England church is a prayer to God concerning the challenges of life the writer and seafarers of the time faced in the United Kingdom. The common and popular means of transportation at the time was by sea. In each of their travels, they sought God’s face in this praise worship song to drive away fear, expressed their faith in God against sea voyage accidents and mishaps common and rampant at the time.

The song which means, God bring heavenly joy, love, and peace that cannot be destroyed is today adapted by many churches around the world and is sang for different situations and purposes during church events.

As a medical expert, Doctor Adeoye Oyewole in his own submission observed that the outbreak of covid-19 in Wuhan China in December, 2019 and its present pandemic global spread early this year could have been as a result of so many factors, chief amongst which are the environment, habit and life style of the people where the disease erupted. He says a virus is a pathogen and a good number of these pathogens live in animals and can jump from animal to human.

To support his claim, report gathered from China, a country with about 1.3 billion population, indicated that virus infected animals were sold in a public market in Wuhan province in China and people who bought them for consumption were contaminated with the virus.

Animals with this virus could also have been exported in large number to different countries for consumption, cooked in hotels and restaurants for guests and this would have aggravated the quick contamination and spread.

Research conducted by scientists in China indicated that unlike the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrom(SARS) of 2003 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrom(MERS) of 2012 for which were mild and localized, this enhanced isolating the causal viruses for the quick development of vaccines for their control.

The source or host of covid-19 is not known, but bats are said to be the original host of the virus as bats are host to a wide range of zoonotic viruses such as Ebola, HIV and Rabies. Report has it that covid-19 virus mutates into two strains, one strain is more aggressive than the other and this makes developing a quick vaccine for its control complicated and difficult.

Covid-19 has a broad spectrum of animal to man infection.

Symptoms of the disease include: fever, dry cough, body weakness, feeling of unusual loss of taste, smell and touch.

Dr. Adeoye emphasized that coronavirus is a droplet air virulent contagious disease. He warned people to strictly obey basic hygiene rules and procedures coupled with government guidelines and laws put in place for its prevention and to check its spread.

Since the outbreak of covid-19, its spread as reported by the Geneva based World Health Organization(WHO) in February, 2020 has become pandemic and current statistics indicate that globally over 150,000 cases and 5,000 deaths have been reported.

The disease has spread to more than 100 countries in less than three months of its outbreak. The plague which affects many cities and nations in different continents around the world has grounded air travels and halted economic activities of hard heat nations as many affected workers an people are under quarantine. National and international conferences, seminars, meetings and sporting events are been cancelled, local and international travels are curtailed.

People however wonder why covid-19 is not wide spread in Africa as in other hard hit countries around the world.

Countries affected in Africa by covid-19 have stood up strongly with appropriate laws, hygiene rules, travel restrictions and effective quarantine laws and treatment put in place for infected people to prevent and check the spread of the disease on the continent.

Since the spread of covid-19 to Nigeria, the country's center for disease control(NCDC) have reported that about 130 confirmed cases and two deaths have been recorded. Affected people in about 10 states in the country are under quarantine for close observation and treatment. Those mildly infected were treated and discharged.

The country’s Minister for health is up and doing informing and educating the people to be careful and cautious of contacting the disease as it is real and deadly.

Federal and state government in Nigeria has put up radio jingles and talks to sensitize the people in towns and villages to prevent and check the spread of covid-19.

The federal government has put in placed ban on foreign travels by government officials, travelers from countries with covid-19 disease will be under quarantine for two weeks and since it is asymptotic, people are advised to be honest and patriotic to present themselves to relevant authorities for screening and testing.

The directorate of country’s National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) have cancelled this year's orientation camp activities for new corps members, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions have been closed until things become normal again. The government has banned large gathering of people in Churches, Mosques and any social events. As a move to prevent people from contacting the disease, people must maintain a social distance of three feet or one meter from each other, people must not shake, kiss or hug each other, people must wash their hands regularly with soap and warm or clean water and regularly apply sanitizers.

Considering coronavirus as a droplet disease, people are advised to cough and sneeze into their elbows or handkerchiefs. In dusty environment and with people on essential services in petrol stations, hospitals, private clinics, post offices, banks, media men, security agents, etc, are advised to use nose caps and hand gloves.

In Nigeria, the President has proclaimed a total lock down for two weeks. Inter and intra state vehicular movement is curtailed and in some cases banned, state governors have been on air to address their people on taking precautions to stay clear of contacting covid-19. Individual state has laws and public enlightenment programs in addition to federal government laws and guidelines put in place to help safe guard the people and check the spread of covid-19 into their state. As government shot down law commence in the country, people rush to markets to buy food stuffs and essential house needs as major local and city mauls and markets during the period of the 14 days shot down will be closed.

According to President M. Buhari in his speech to the people on Sunday, 29th March, 2020 on the issue of covid-19, government will put in a huge amount of money for research and control of the disease, government will restructure the school feeding program to meet the need of school children now at home on holiday and government amongst other palative measures wants to help traders and farmers in the country. He wants all Nigerians to bear and endure the temporary hardship of the present world crisis of covid-19. He urged Nigerians to obey hygiene rules and government guidelines put in place to stop the menace and embarrassment caused by coronavirus disease outbreak.