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Covid-19 second wave: Social Distancing and the Place of Ecommerce


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“Every health professional in Nigeria is concerned about the second wave and the rate at which the virus is spreading in the country. It showed that people didn’t keep to required protocols despite the warnings. Our health system can’t handle an exponential increase, and the majority of Nigerians can’t afford the cost of private treatment. So the sensible thing to do is wear your mask at all times.

Wash and sanitize your hands. Avoid crowded places. The peculiarity of the virus is such that your own hygiene is not enough. You have to make sure your family and close friends imbibe the culture else, they can infect you. A collective effort is required to limit the spread of this virus.” These were the words of Doctor Owolabi of Plato hospital, while speaking on the ravaging second wave of the deadly covid-19 virus in Nigeria.

Since the deadly second wave began, Nigeria has witnessed a surge in number of daily cases more than the nation experienced during the first outbreak. Presently, the nation’s health system is stretched to its full limit as patients scramble for few available treatment spaces. Latest developments have shown that the safest way out is prevention. More than before, Nigerians are being urged to keep covid-19 protocols to avoid alarming spread that could spell a second national lockdown. Top on the list is the call for people to avoid large gatherings. People however need essentials such as food, groceries and hygiene products for their daily upkeep. Offline markets consisting of brick and mortar stores are often crowded with customers.

Ecommerce platforms were of immense help to customers keeping safety protocols during the nationwide lockdown in 2020. Online marketplace thus remains a valid alternative for customers to keep safe distance and shop for essentials from the comfort of wherever they are. According to Jumia Nigeria CEO, Massimiliano Spalazzi, online shopping will help promote the adoption of social distancing measures and eliminate the contact risk associated with brick and mortar stores, as people can purchase different products of their choice and get them delivered from the safety of their home.

“Covid-19 pandemic is showing the importance of online marketplace and why it should be part of people’s lifestyle at this time. As the world battles with the realities of the second wave of the virus, people are being urged to avoid large gatherings, limit human contact as much as possible and observe strict hygiene practice. And it is becoming increasingly obvious that online shopping remains one of the ways individuals can take precautions to limit the spread. Ecommerce platforms possess all these features that will help customers keep to the safety culture.”

The online retail market is expanding as several brands are keying into available platforms to reach their customers. Several food restaurants are partnering with the likes of Jumia Foods, to get their food services, beverages and groceries products delivered to customers at their doorsteps. Also, hygiene products such as hand sanitizers, soaps and toiletries can be ordered online with the global manufacturers such as Reckitt Benckiser and P&G partnering with Jumia.

“From the comfort of their safety, customers can shop on the Jumia platforms with our range of products partners, make payment through online payment solutions like JumiaPay and get them delivered via Jumia Express, or our contactless agents. As the leading online marketplace in Africa, we are committed to ensuring that people get the necessities for their daily needs with adherence to safety protocols,” Spalazzi added.

From the relevance and impact of ecommerce during the first wave of the virus in Nigeria, it is safe to say that online shopping will help reduce the spread of covid-19 as it eliminates the possibilities of physical contacts associated with an average brick and mortar store.

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