One in every six persons (16 per cent) tested for COVID-19 in Nigeria in the past two weeks tested positive for the virus, indicating how far the virus has spread. This is significantly higher than the average of one in ten persons since Nigeria recorded its first case of the virus in February last year.
Also, Nigeria in the past two weeks set two new weekly infections record after reporting over 15,000 new cases in two weeks.
PREMIUM TIMES’ review of official data shows that between Sunday and Saturday (December 27- January 9), the first two weeks of 2021, Nigeria recorded 15,937 new cases.
In the first week, which included the last four days of 2020 (December 27-January 2), there were 6,037 cases, a 6.5 per cent increase over the previous week’s (December 20-26) figure of 5,643, which was the third-highest weekly record.
Last week (January 3-9), 9,900 new cases were reported, representing a 39 per cent increase from the previous week’s figure of 6,037 and second highest weekly record. The 9,900 recorded last week is the highest weekly figure ever.
Over the two weeks, the country tested 100,345 persons, which implies that one in every six tests in the period came back positive.
Since the pandemic broke out in February last year, over a million (1,025,560) samples were collected for testing.
According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the increase is the result of factors which include increased local and international travels, business and religious activities with minimal compliance with COVID-19 safety measures.
While some states have announced restrictions ranging from ban on gatherings and curfews to curb the spread, the federal government also placed travel restrictions on 100 passengers for non-compliance with the mandatory Day 7 post-arrival COVID-19 test.
Passengers arriving in the country are required to self-isolate and carry out a COVID-19 test seven days after arrival but a recent report by PREMIUM TIMES revealed that some passengers failed to comply.
Nevertheless, the NCDC and sister agencies have intensified efforts in enlightening Nigerians on the essence of the safety precautions.
Deaths, recoveries rise too
Further analysis also showed that the number of fatalities and recoveries increased in the past two weeks.
Nigeria recorded 98 deaths in the two weeks – 50 in the first week and 48 in the second.
There were 29 deaths in the week preceding the period.
Also, 8,922 COVID-19 patients recovered from the disease and were discharged within the period. According to the breakdown, 4,294 were discharged in the first week and 4,628 last week.
Each of the weekly recovery figures was over 30 per cent increase over the 2,711 recoveries reported in the preceding week.
As Nigeria grapples with the second wave of the pandemic, officials have raised hope on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine.
Nigeria is expecting its first 100,000 doses of Pfizer and BioNtech vaccines at the end of this month, according to the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib.
The country is also expecting ‘free’ 42 million doses of vaccines in the second phase through the COVAX facility, an initiative run by the vaccine alliance, GAVI, to ensure equitable access to a COVID vaccine.
The Nigerian government has also inaugurated an 18-member national COVID-19 task team to ensure ‘vaccine security’ on arrival.
Mr Shuaib said 40 per cent of the population was expected to get shots this year and 60 per cent by the end of next year.
However, experts said Nigeria does not have adequate storage facilities to hold vaccines at the required temperature of minus 70 degrees Celsius, largely due to epileptic electricity supply in the country.
“… there are no ultra-cold freezers much needed to store some of the frontrunners such as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines,” according to Iyabo Daradara, Director, Logistics and Health Commodities at the NPHCDA.
Nigeria and the pandemic so far
As of the time of reporting, Nigeria has 99,063 confirmed cases. Of this figure, 79,417 people have recovered after treatment and 1,350 have died in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
Currently, 18,296 patients are being managed in various isolation centres in the country.
A breakdown of the confirmed cases shows that Lagos State has so far reported 35,448 cases, followed by FCT – 13,406, Kaduna — 5,779, Plateau — 5, 711, Oyo — 4, 323, Rivers — 3, 886, Edo — 3, 060, Ogun — 2, 668, Kano — 2, 435, Delta — 1, 982, Ondo — 1, 918, Katsina — 1, 687, Kwara — 1, 495, Enugu — 1, 455, Gombe — 1, 440, Ebonyi — 1, 147, Nasarawa — 1, 091, Abia— 1, 086, Bauchi — 1, 082, Osun — 1, 063, Borno — 830, Imo — 789, Bayelsa — 569, Benue — 553, Sokoto — 529, Akwa Ibom — 512, Niger — 477, Adamawa — 471, Jigawa — 415, Anambra — 386, Taraba — 226, Kebbi — 223, Cross River— 169, Zamfara — 112 and Kogi — 5.
Lagos State remains the epicentre for the disease in the country with the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths.
The other top five states are FCT, Kaduna, Plateau, Oyo and Rivers.
Only Kogi and Cross River states did not record a new case in the past two weeks or have an active case. PREMIUM TIMES reported how Kogi has been reluctant to test its residents for the virus.
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