About a year after Nigeria recorded its first case, more than 150,000 people have been infected with COVID-19 in the country, data from the country’s infectious disease agency, NCDC, has revealed.
COVID19, the potentially dangerous pneumonia-like disease caused by the coronavirus and said to have emanated from a local Chinese market to spread to over 200 countries, has now claimed over 1,800 lives in Nigeria.
Since the beginning of the second wave last December, Nigeria has experienced more COVID-19 cases than before as the country seeks to balance health security with saving its economy amid the quest to land the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines.
The latest grim milestone came about 11 months after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the coronavirus a pandemic on March 11, 2020.
As of Friday morning, the total infection figures stood at 150,246, including 877 new cases reported from 26 states on Thursday.
It took about nine months for Nigeria’s tally to reach 120,000 on January 24, 2021 from the 1,000 cases reached on April 25, 2020.
However, the figure reached 150,000 in less than a month to indicate how fast the disease is currently spreading.
An average of about 1,000 cases has been reported daily since the beginning of 2021.
Nearly half of Nigeria’s infections were recorded this year alone with about 65,000 infections reported since January 1, 2021.
The recent surge in coronavirus cases has led to increased fatalities.
About 16 people died from COVID-19 in Nigeria on Thursday raising the country’s fatalities to 1,803 in total.
Nigeria on January 30 recorded its highest daily death tally of 27 deaths to topple the previous record of 23 deaths reported on January 15.
About 100 deaths were recorded from the disease last week while about 69 persons died due to COVID-19 in the previous week.
Health experts say the figures and true extent of the spread of the disease are underestimated due to the country’s poor testing process.
More than two-thirds of the over 150,000 people infected by COVID-19 in Nigeria have recovered after treatment.
The figure indicates the level of success the country’s health professionals have recorded in containing the virus.
According to NCDC data published Thursday night, a total of 126,417 have recovered after treatment.
Although people who recover from a viral infection often develop immunity against the same disease, it remains unclear whether this is the case with COVID-19 infection.
Meanwhile, about 24,000 infections are still active in the country.
The 877 new cases were reported from 26 states: Lagos-273 Kaduna-87 Rivers-58 Akwa Ibom-47 Ebonyi-47 Edo-46 Ogun-46 Abia-34 Imo-34 Kano-34 Oyo-26 Osun-22 Gombe-20 Ekiti-19 Cross River-15 FCT-15 Plateau-11 Enugu-9 Kebbi-8 Borno-7 Niger-6 Bayelsa-5 Nasarawa-4 Kwara-2 Katsina-1 Sokoto-1.
Lagos had the highest toll in Thursday’s tally with 273 new cases followed by Kaduna and Rivers with 87 and 58 infections respectively.
Since the pandemic broke out in February last year, the country has carried out over 1.3 million tests.
As Nigeria struggles to get enough vaccines to keep its populations safe, authorities are imposing several restrictions to curb the spread of the disease.
President Muhammadu Buhari on January 26 signed the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021 policy.
The law has many sections including restrictions on gatherings; operations of public places; mandatory compliance with treatment protocols; offences and penalties; enforcement and application; and interpretation and citation.
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and other states have ratified the presidential directive.
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has also ordered the full enforcement of the law.
The FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, authorised security agencies to arrest anyone violating the guidelines.
Nigeria plans to vaccinate as much as 50 per cent of its population against the coronavirus in 2021 but is yet to get its first batch of vaccines despite several arrangements and partnerships the country has in place to secure the much needed jabs.
Nigeria is expected to receive an initial 16 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines through the Vaccines Global Assess Facility (COVAX) by the end of February.
The health minister, Osagie Ehanire, said last week that an additional 42 million doses will be delivered to the country through the African Union, African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT).
Mr Ehanire also said Nigeria has subscribed to two multilateral vaccine access platforms; the first being the COVAX facility which was set up to divide over a billion doses of vaccines across 92 low-and middle-income countries.
The facility promised access to vaccines for up to 20 per cent of participating countries’ population with an initial supply beginning in the first quarter of the year to immunise three per cent of their populations.
The second platform is the AVATT, which has acquired 300 million doses of three types of vaccines to distribute to African countries based on their populations, according to Mr Ehanire.
Meanwhile, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Thursday approved Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for use in Nigeria.
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