The much dreaded third wave of the coronavirus pandemic may already be here fully in Nigeria as there is a gradual increase in the number of fresh cases and deaths from the disease.
It is an indication that the government may be forced to declare another round of lockdown, halting movements and business activities, a decision that may further worsen the already battered economy.
Nigeria on Friday reported eight deaths from the disease and confirmed 590 new cases, raising the country’s infection toll to 173,411.
This is contained in an update posted late Friday night on the official Facebook page of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the country agency in charge of testing and management of infectious diseases including coronavirus.
According to the update, Friday’s figure is higher when compared with 558 cases reported 24 hours earlier and ranks the latest highest daily tally since March 4 when 708 cases were reported.
The spread of the disease across 17 states of the federation and the FCT, also signals the consistent expansion of the distribution of the new cases.
In less than one week, Nigeria has been consistent in smashing previous records of highest daily tallies in months to indicate how swift the third wave of the pandemic is spreading.
On Saturday, Nigeria recorded 317 new cases as the country’s highest daily figure in four months, a record smashed by the 404 infections reported from 12 states and the FCT on Tuesday, which was also torpedoed by Thursday’s 535 cases.
Meanwhile, the hitherto highest daily figure of 558 in four months announced for Thursday has once again been displaced by the 590 cases announced late Friday night by NCDC.
Meanwhile, with the eight new fatalities on Friday, the total death toll in the country now stands at 2,149.
For the umpteenth time, Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre and epicentre for the pandemic still reported the highest share of 308 cases.
The second position on the infection chart has continued to be filled by Akwa Ibom and Oyo State, with the former and another new entrant to the competition, Katsina State, displacing Oyo State in the latest ranking to the 4th position.
While Akwa Ibom reported 54 cases on Friday, Katsina reported 40 and Oyo State, 39. It is followed by Rivers State with 26 cases. Others are Niger (23), Gombe (19), Ogun (16) and Ekiti, 15.
The FCT and Nasarawa, both in the North-central region, reported 10 cases each, while Delta reported nine cases with Bayelsa and Plateau reporting five cases each.
Imo State, South-east Nigeria, recorded four cases in the latest data while both Ebonyi and Jigawa states recorded three cases each and Kano, one.
The disease centre, however noted that the cases reported for Niger State comprises the 12 cases recorded on July 28 and 11 recorded on Thursday, 29 with zero case on Friday.
Similarly, the NCDC noted that the data provided for Delta State comprises those recorded on July 10, 11, 13 and 29.
Meanwhile, despite the recent increase in daily cases, the disease centre claims that a total of 164,978 persons who contracted the virus and were treated at the various isolation centres have been discharged nationwide.
As part of efforts towards averting another lockdown which appears imminent, the Presidential Committee on COVID-19 under the leadership of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, has consistently warned Nigerians against lowering their guards.
A statement issued late Friday evening by the committee warned political groups including electoral bodies against violating the existing protocols that have been put in place to avoid the spread of the disease.
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