As Nigeria prepares to relax its lockdown from Monday, the country continues to record more COVID-19 cases than before.
Nigeria recorded more COVID-19 cases in the past week than in the previous eight weeks put together.
A PREMIUM TIMES’ analysis shows that Nigeria recorded 1206 new cases last week, 102 more than 1182 recorded in the previous eight weeks.
However, the lockdown imposed on major cities like Lagos, Abuja and Ogun will be relaxed from tomorrow, President Muhammadu Buhari announced last Monday. Instead of the lockdown, the president announced a night curfew (8 p.m. to 6 a.m.) as well as other safety measures like use of face masks and social distancing.
According to data sourced from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), while Nigeria recorded more cases last week, the country also recorded more recoveries.
Almost half of the COVID-19 patients who have recovered since the outbreak of the pandemic in Nigeria were discharged last week, the data shows.
A total of 163 patients were discharged last week, bringing the total number of recoveries as of Saturday night to 385.
Nigeria recorded its first case of the infection in an Italian man who visited Lagos on February 28.
Nigeria has recorded 2,388 cases as of Saturday midnight. Out of these, 385 people have recovered and have been discharged while the death toll rose to 85.
A breakdown of the 2,388 cases shows that Lagos State has 1,068 cases, followed by Kano – 313, FCT – 266, Borno – 75, Gombe – 96, Bauchi – 53, Delta – 17, Oyo – 33, Zamfara – 12, Sokoto – 54, Ondo – 13, Nasarawa – 9, Kwara – 16, Edo – 52, Ekiti – 11, Borno – 69, Yobe – 13, Adamawa – 4, Niger – 3, Imo-2, Ebonyi – 5, Enugu – 8, Rivers – 14, Ogun – 56, Osun – 34, Katsina – 40, Kaduna – 66, Akwa Ibom – 16, Taraba – 8, Jigawa – 7, Kebbi–12, Bayelsa – 5, Abia – 2 and Plateau – 3. Benue and Anambra have one case each.
Also, a total of 163 patients were discharged last week. This represents a 42 per cent increase when compared to the 222 who recovered and had been discharged in the previous two months.
As of last week, the pandemic had spread to six new states in addition to the previous 28 states and the FCT. This means only two states are yet to record a case of the infection.
While Lagos remains the epicentre, there was a major surge in Kano, which has moved up to the second position on the NCDC chart, thus displacing the FCT to the third position.
Moreover, the average daily figure of confirmed cases rose drastically last week. The average for last week was 151, compared to 96 for the previous week.
Meanwhile, the number of those who died of the virus also shot up with 50 new deaths recorded last week as against the 35 in the previous two months.
The rise in the number of cases cannot be disconnected from the increase in testing capacity, as the country has so far tested 16,588 persons since the beginning of the pandemic.
Nigeria has one of the worst testing coverages in Africa and anywhere in the world, according to worldometers.info, a website dedicated to providing real-time statistics.
According to the Director-General of NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, during one of the daily briefings last week, the Nigerian government has set a target of testing two million people in the next three months.
In this weekly review, we take a look at the figures in the past week.
On Sunday last week, 91 new cases of COVID19 were reported. The spread is 43 – Lagos, 8 – Sokoto, 6 – Taraba, 5 – Kaduna, 5 – Gombe, 3 – Ondo, 3 – FCT, 3 – Edo, 3 – Oyo, 3 – Rivers, 3 – Bauchi, 2 – Osun, 1 – Akwa Ibom, 1 – Bayelsa, 1 – Ebonyi, and 1 – Kebbi.
This means that as of 11:50 p.m, April 26, a total of 1273 confirmed cases had been reported in Nigeria with 239 discharged and 40 dead.
On Monday, 64 new cases were reported; 34 – Lagos, 15 – FCT, 11 – Borno, 2 – Taraba and 2 – Gombe.
As of 11:20 p.m., April 27, a total of 1337 confirmed cases had been reported with 255 discharged and 40 deaths.
On Tuesday, 195 new cases were reported as follows:
80 – Lagos, 38 – Kano, 15 – Ogun, 15 – Bauchi, 11 – Borno, 10 – Gombe, 9 – Sokoto, 5 – Edo, 5 – Jigawa, 2 – Zamfara, 1 – Rivers, 1 – Enugu, 1 – Delta, 1-FCT, 1 .- Nasarawa.
As of 11:50 p.m., April 28, a total of 1532 confirmed cases had been reported in Nigeria with 255 discharged and 44 deaths.
On Wednesday, 196 new cases were reported thus: 87 – Lagos, 24 – Kano, 18 – Gombe, 17 – Kaduna, 16 – FCT, 10 – Katsina, 8 – Sokoto, 7 – Edo, 6 – Borno, 1 – Yobe, 1 – Ebonyi, and 1 – Adamawa.
As of 11:55 p.m. on April 29, a total of 1728 confirmed cases had been reported, out of which 307 had been discharged while 51 had died.
On Thursday, 204 new cases were reported. These were 80 – Kano, 45 – Lagos, 12 – Gombe, 9 – Bauchi, 9 – Sokoto, 7 – Borno, 7 – Edo, 6 – Rivers, 6 – Ogun, 4 – FCT, 4 – Akwa Ibom, 4 – Bayelsa, 3 – Kaduna, 2 – Oyo, 2 – Delta, 2 – Nasarawa, 1 – Ondo and 1 – Kebbi
As of 11:50 p.m, April 30, 1932 confirmed cases had been reported with 319 discharged and 58 deaths.
On Friday, 238 new cases were reported as follows: 92 – Kano, 36 – FCT, 30 – Lagos, 16 – Gombe, 10 – Bauchi, 8 – Delta, 6 – Oyo, 5 – Zamfara, 5 – Sokoto, 4 – Ondo, 4 – Nasarawa, 3 – Kwara, 3 – Edo, 3 – Ekiti, 3 – Borno, 3 – Yobe, 2 – Adamawa, 1 – Niger, 1 – Imo, 1 – Ebonyi, 1 – Rivers and 1 in Enugu
As of 11:50 p.m, May 1, a total of 2170 confirmed cases had been confirmed in Nigeria while 351 patients had recovered and 68 dead.
On Saturday evening, 220 new cases were reported; 62 – Lagos 52 – FCT, 31 – Kaduna, 13 – Sokoto, 10 – Kebbi, 9 – Yobe, 6 – Borno, 5 – Edo, 5 – Bauchi, 4 – Gombe, 4 – Enugu, 4 – Oyo, 3 – Zamfara, 2 – Nasarawa, 2 – Osun, 2 – Ebonyi, 2 – Kwara, 2 – Kano and 2 in Plateau.
Thus, as of 11:55 p.m., May 2, there were 2388 confirmed cases in Nigeria. A total of 385 of these had been discharged while 85 had died.
Relaxation of lockdown
After over a month of restriction on movements in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun states, President Muhammadu Buhari announced a gradual relaxation of the lockdown from Monday, May 4.
Starting from that day, selected businesses can open within a time frame while some guidelines for the relaxation were later reeled out by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
These include compulsory use of face masks in public places, decontamination and fumigation of some places, provision for thermometers to check temperatures in the public.
Also, a nationwide curfew from 8 p.m to 6 a.m will be enforced in all states from May 4 as well as a total ban on movement across state boundaries.
The relaxation of the lockdown has generated controversies. While some said it was expected given the insufficiency of the palliatives given by the government, others said it poses a great danger.
For instance, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) rejected it in a press release issued by its spokesperson, Ikenga Ugochinyere.
The group said it carried out a detailed survey and analysis of the pattern of spread since the imposition of the initial lockdown and reviewed the guidelines for the lifting released by the Presidential Taskforce.
“Based on the outcome of the efforts, we have come to this unimpeachable conclusion that what Nigeria rather needs now is a national lockdown and not lifting of the partial lockdown. This is fundamentally because like we had highlighted in previous statements, a lockdown on its own without complementary action was not going to achieve much.”
Efforts to salvage Kano
The PTF said the efforts to cut the surge of the virus in Kano were yielding positive results.
“Our response to the Kano situation is yielding results since testing was rampant, the state task force in collaboration with our team has also established contact tracing and isolation. A lot of emphases is being placed on building of capacity for coordination, care management,” the Chairman of the Taskforce, Boss Mustapha, said last week
“Although the spike in the figures from Kano is a bit worrisome, global trends indicate the discovery of previously detected cases and create greater opportunity for detection, isolation, care and management.”
Mr Mustapha said the PTF was also putting up a team to support the state on a full-time basis.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said a team of 14 specialists will be deployed to Kano State on Saturday.
According to him, they will be responsible for the training and capacity building of the health workers so that the NCDC strategy can be actualised.
Research still ongoing for vaccines and drugs
The task force encouraged Nigerian researchers to join the race for the cure and vaccination against the virus, saying it welcomes any innovation to mitigate the infection.
According to the WHO Immunisation Team Lead, Fiona Braka, there are 89 Covid-19 vaccines under development globally.
She made this known at the national daily press briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
Mrs Braka, who fielded questions from journalists, spoke extensively on how far WHO has gone with the production of vaccines.
“Researchers around the world are working around the development of vaccines and therapeutics for Covid-19.”
She said WHO has working groups to accelerate various aspects of vaccine development as well as 130 manufacturers and specialists to help speed up the availability of vaccines for COVID-19.
She, however, reiterated that there are no approved vaccines yet.
“Till date we do not have a vaccine but trials are underway in a very accelerated process,” she said.