As Nigerians continue to experience the nationwide ease in lockdown announced by President Muhammadu Buhari, the country recorded a 16 per cent drop in coronavirus cases last week compared to the previous week, an analysis of data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) shows.
A PREMIUM TIMES review of the daily report of COVID-19 cases by the NCDC shows that Nigeria recorded 1,470 new cases in the past week (May 10 – May 16), a 16 per cent drop from the 1,763 cases reported in the previous week (May 3 – May 9). This week’s figure is, however, higher than the 1,206 cases recorded in the penultimate week (April 26 to May 2), an indication the country cannot say it has flattened the curve of new cases.
Also, a total of 727 patients recovered and were discharged last week, a 101 per cent increase when compared to the 360 patients discharged in the previous week.
However, 47 new deaths were recorded across the country last week as against the 43 reported in the previous week.
Lagos State remains the epicentre of the pandemic in Nigeria with 609 new cases. However, Lagos, like Nigeria, recorded a weekly decrease in new infections when last week’s figure is compared to the 696 new cases recorded in the state in the previous week.
Despite the reduction in the national aggregate, Jigawa, Niger and Yobe states reported double of their previous cases last week.
The data also shows that Abia and Bayelsa did not record additional cases last week while Cross River and Kogi states are yet to report a single case of the infection since Nigeria’s index case was announced in February.
The governors of the two states with zero cases have discouraged their residents from testing, a move opposed by the ministry of health and the NCDC.
Nigeria so far
According to the NCDC, Nigeria recorded 176 new cases of COVID-19, on Saturday, as the tally of infected people rose to 5,621.
A breakdown of the 5,621confirmed cases shows that Lagos State has so far reported 2,373 cases, followed by Kano – 761, FCT – 397, Katsina – 239, Bauchi – 212, Borno – 212, Jigawa – 197, Ogun – 145, Kaduna – 134, Gombe – 124, Sokoto – 112, Oyo – 107, Edo – 95, Zamfara – 74, Kwara – 58, Osun – 42, Rivers – 35, Yobe – 32, Kebbi – 31, Delta – 25, Nasarawa – 31, Niger – 22, Plateau – 21,, Adamawa – 21, Ondo – 19, Taraba – 17, Akwa Ibom – 16, Ekiti – 19, Enugu – 12, , Ebonyi – 9, Imo – 7, Bayelsa – 6, Benue – 5, Anambra – 5 and Abia – 2.
So far, 1,472 persons have recovered and have been discharged while 176 have lost their lives to the infection.
Timeline last week
On Sunday, 248 new cases of COVID19 were reported in the country.
On Monday, 242 new cases of the pandemic were reported in the country. This brought the tally of confirmed cases to 4,641 as of 11:55 p.m. on May 11.
On Tuesday, 146 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded.
A total of 184 new cases of the disease were reported on Wednesday which brought the number of confirmed cases to 4,971.
The NCDC figures, as of 11:55 p.m. on May 13 showed that 1,070 patients had been discharged while 164 had died.
On Thursday, 193 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the country.
On Friday, 288 new cases were reported in Nigeria, bringing the tally of confirmed cases to 5,445 as of 11:55 p.m. on May 15.
On Saturday, 176 new cases of the pandemic were recorded.
Therefore, a total of 5,621 cases have so far been reported, out of which 1472 have recovered and 176 have died.
Nigeria has so far tested 32,942 persons since the beginning of the pandemic, a very low figure compared to many other African countries.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Friday, said that the government envisaged a steady rise in the number of cases with “more diligent testing, treatment, isolation and (contact) tracing.”
In a bid to scale up its testing capacity, the federal government has decided to repurpose the tuberculosis GeneXpert machines already deployed in all the states and the FCT.
In a recent document, the NCDC noted that with the GeneXpert machines, each of which could test 24 samples daily, it is targeting 1,300 tests per day with ability to return test results on the same day.
The health agency added that: “There are also available in-country two mobile laboratories equipped with two GeneXpert instruments each. These will be deployed as needed to support COVID-19 testing surge in target states.”
The agency earlier in May set a target to conduct two million COVID-19 tests in three months.
A lockdown of major cities was eased by President Buhari on April 27. The president announced that from May 4, the total lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja, would be replaced by a dusk to dawn curfew and a nationwide ban on interstate travels.
The first week after the ease in lockdown, new weekly coronavirus cases increased, from 1,206 to 1,763 before it reduced last week to 1,470.
According to Mr Buhari, some of the conditions for the gradual easing of the lockdown nationwide is the compliance with the 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, interstate travel ban and the social distancing regulations.
These rules have, however, been violated in many states as many defy the interstate travel ban across the country.
PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported how law enforcement agents in Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Abia, Ondo, Kwara, Bayelsa and other states have turned back people hiding in trucks which carried cattle, goats, rams, yams, or bags of rice.
There is also a massive movement of commuters to Abuja from the neighbouring states.
Recently, 70 young Nigerians from the northern part of the country were apprehended in Oyo State, by operatives of the civil defence corps when they tried to sneak into the South-west state. They had travelled hundreds of kilometres from Kano, Katsina, Zamfara and Kaduna.
In addition, PREMIUM TIMES’ investigation revealed that migrants have been defying the border closure and moving between Nigeria and her West African neighbour, Benin Republic, by sea.
This they do with the support of corrupt security personnel who extort travellers and turn blind eyes.
Notwithstanding, the Senate has urged the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and the Commandant-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Abdullahi Muhammadu, to investigate the alleged complicity of security officers in the breach of the curfew and ban on non-essential interstate travels and bring to book anyone found wanting.
The Senate, on Tuesday, made the call to heads of all security agencies charged with enforcing the ban on interstate travel.
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