Journal of
Public Health and Epidemiology

  • Abbreviation: J. Public Health Epidemiol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2316
  • DOI: 10.5897/JPHE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 652

Full Length Research Paper

Knowledge and adherence to social distancing guidelines in Nigeria during the COVID-19 pandemic

Ebidor U. Lawani-Luwaji
  • Ebidor U. Lawani-Luwaji
  • Department of Medical Laboratory Science, College of Health Sciences, Niger Delta University, Nigeria, Bayelsa, Nigeria.
  • Google Scholar
Pere-ere F. T. Victor
  • Pere-ere F. T. Victor
  • Department of Educational Foundation, Niger Delta University, Bayelsa, Nigeria.
  • Google Scholar
Dorcas B. Esene
  • Dorcas B. Esene
  • Department of Educational Foundation, Niger Delta University, Bayelsa, Nigeria.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 25 June 2020
  •  Accepted: 19 August 2020
  •  Published: 30 April 2021


Social distancing refers to actions or steps taken by an individual or groups of individuals with the main purpose of reducing physical and social interaction to curb the spread of infectious disease. This study sought to determine Nigerians’ knowledge of social distancing and why most people do not adhere to the guidelines amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A non-probability sampling method was used for this study; data were generated from respondents who filled an online form distributed on all social media platforms. All respondents living in Nigeria were included in the study while those living outside at the time of the survey were excluded. Results from the survey revealed that most Nigerians are knowledgeable about social distancing guidelines but observed low or non-adherence to the rules. This non-compliance was partly attributed to poor knowledge of the guidelines due to inadequate information from the government, and majorly due to lack of basic amenities, poverty and hunger. Further research and policies on the best avenue of reaching this group of Nigerians with a substantial economic package, an improvement on information dissemination on social distancing guidelines will make a great difference. Finally, the authorities and policymakers can develop programmes to prepare citizens for the eventuality of a future pandemic.

Key words:  Adherence, social distancing, knowledge, guidelines.