Since the news broke in Nigeria of an Italian descent having the dreaded Coronavirus in Lagos, local businesses have suffered from low patronage. Fearful of contracting this contagious disease, many people are wary of visiting local markets and the free movement of people and goods, both nationally and regionally, has been severely reduced.
Frustration among small business owners is mounting and if the economic situation continues to break, and as desperation sets in, there is fear criminal activities will rise. Lagos State, which is known for its congested commercial activities became a no go area for traders from other states and countries. The popular China Town at Alapere in Lagos, which was the hub for traders and businessmen has been deserted over the last two weeks, based on the impression that every Chinese man is a potential carrier of the deadly corona Virus.
The grocery stores have suddenly fell short of hand sanitisers and nose masks due to the avalanche of demand cushioned by panic buying. A noise filter which was sold for N50 before the news of Coronavirus suddenly became N1,500, and one has to fight to get it from sellers whose stock are very limited. One may think that the impact of the social crisis is limited to a cross-section of the society, but the network of social and economic relation trickles down to the grassroots.
Street urchins and hawkers who sell water and beverages in the drive time traffic are also lamenting as the common consumers who hitherto could easily stretch out their hands from the commercial buses to buy a ‘Pepsi’ or ‘pure water’, as they are popularly called now fear the tendency of getting infected through the sweat of the road urchins. The fabrics sellers and party rockers are also not left out. China is the major marketplace where socialites get their various luxurious Aso-Ebi. China, which is the emerging point of the Corona virus, has been economically amputated as the trade activities has gone down. No good is coming in, and none is going out. This also affects the e-commerce dealers who posts, advertise and sell Chinese products online, such as home appliances, Human hair, mobile phones, fashion materials and kitchen utensils.
The businessmen who run sports viewing centres are equally counting their loses, as matches are being postponed at various league levels across Europe. The Seria A leagues have been slated to adopt indoor games, where no one will be allowed on the pitch except for officiating staff and teams. some matches have also been postponed until the tide of the coronavirus is stemmed. The outbreak of Coronvirus virus in Nigeria has captured attention—and stoked anxieties—around Nigeria. With 3,523 confirmed deaths and over 100,000 cases globally, it is the deadliest outbreak of the virus in history. The World Health Organization (WHO) and national governments have implemented surveillance, containment and quarantine measures in several countries. At the same time, global businesses are assessing how the outbreak may affect their ability to continue operations while also protecting the health and well-being of their employees. At the moment, most companies only face limited effects from the outbreak; though those operating in remote regions with high infection rates have had to take considerable precautions.
The WHO has not recommended any travel or trade restrictions on any of the affected countries. Instead, border closings and health screening requirements tend to be localized and restricted to majorly affected areas. However, airports welcoming long-haul flights from West Africa have shown heightened caution and may isolate passengers who demonstrate Corona Virus-like symptoms.
As the outbreak progresses over the next several weeks, businesses will likely feel an increasing impact. To date, the outbreak has been limited to Lagos and Ogun, with just one person infected; the Italian, who has also been reported to be in stable condition as and the time of the report.
Businesses may also be adversely affected should the outbreak lead to social or political unrest. Limited government and healthcare capacities in Lagos, combined with misunderstanding and stigma around the coronavirus, has aggravated public fear and frustration.
Although unrest remains a limited risk for businesses, companies should monitor the environments where they are operating for signs of growing instability.
For most global organizations, the likelihood that the outbreak will pose a major business interruption remains low. However, it does provide an opportunity to review business continuity plans.
Everything from travel security protocols to knowledge transfer systems to redundancy in supply chains can help organizations continue to function should Ebola—or some other disease—develop into a more substantial disruption.