One of our big problems around here is that we tend to be overly optimistic, even when all the available evidence does not support optimism.
Now consider this: Pat Sawyer, now late, came into Nigeria on July 20 aboard Asky Airlines. If all the flights that MMIA advertises in its manifest came into Lagos, then as of arrival time, typically 1520 local time, they’d have met on the ground Etihad from Abu Dhabi, Camair from Douala, Arik from Johannesburg, Singapore from Sharjah, Ethiopian from Lome and Arik from Accra.
Within an hour, they’d have been joined by United from Houston, Aero from Douala, Air France from Paris, two Delta planes, one from from Paris another from Atlanta, and Lufthansa from Frankfurt. Each plane, asides from the Asky, Camair and Aero planes, are jumbo jets, which carry up to 200 people.
What this means is that as of the time a man who was already showing the symptoms of full blown Ebola was disembarking from the plane, there were potentially 800 people awaiting entry into Nigeria at the immigration point, soon to be joined by at least another 1000. Ebola can be transmitted by sweat!
No, I am not writing this to cause panic.
I am doing what I always do, which is preparing my mind. I start from the worst possible scenario, and then build up to the best. While I’d want to think positive as my people are wont to do, the fact is this: this is not a situation where we should think positive.
It is a situation where we should be prepared. Being prepared, may mean adopting seemingly extreme measures, no matter how far fetched they may sound. Lagos, the city I live in, is a crowded megapolis of 4,193 persons per sq. km. We are on a clock, three weeks.
Cheta Nwanze writes from Lagos Nigeria and can be reached via @Chxta on twitter
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