On Wednesday, March 25, Nigeria had a short break from new confirmed cases of coronavirus until almost midnight before five more patients tested positive.
Since the tally hit 46 early in the morning, no new case was announced for several hours during the day until around 11:25 p.m. when the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control confirmed the five new cases.
This brings the total number to 51.
It was, however, a busy day as Nigerians keep bracing for total lockdown.
Nigeria within the past eight days has seen a surge of confirmed cases of Covid19.
The tally rose from five to 51. One death was recorded and government had been put on a marathon of desperation to stem the tide by closing down essential daily life activities, reinforcing containment measures and considering several emergency options knowing that her fragile health system will be swiftly overwhelmed if the disease spreads beyond a small number of cases.
Wednesday was no exception.
Markets in Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja closed partially in response to government’s stay-at-home order and panic buying intensified.
Both cities – Lagos and Abuja – have the highest number of cases – 32 and 10 respectively.
PREMIUM TIMES’ visits to some markets and supermarkets in Nigeria’s capital and its commercial nerve on Wednesday showed a maddening rush by buyers and shoppers to stock up their homes with essentials to last the period they are expected to stay at home with their families.
Coronavirus in Aso Rock
After the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, tested positive to COVID-19 on Tuesday, the presidential villa in Aso rock has been the focus of the ongoing outbreak.
On Wednesday, the president’s spokesperson, Femi Adesina announced a ‘partial lockdown’ of the Presidential Villa.
The number of reporters covering the State House was also reduced from over 100 to about 13.
The major highpoint of the day was perhaps a call by Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president, to provide palliatives for millions of Nigerians whom it ordered to stay-at-home.
“At an approximate 30 million households or thereabouts, the government should devise modalities to distribute N10,000 as a supplement for foodstuff to each household, among other palliative measures, with no one left behind,” Mr Abubakar, an opposition leader, whose son Mohammed recently tested positive for Covid-19, wrote on Facebook.
Almost immediately, the call received support from many Nigerians who urged the government to emulate western countries that had launched similar measures.
The U.S. Senate finalised on Tuesday a $1 trillion economic stabilisation plan to help workers and businesses in the country as coronavirus bites harder.
In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, unveiled an $82-billion aid package to help Canadians and businesses, including direct income support.
The Nigerian government had last Wednesday announced the reduction of the pump price of petrol to N125, a N20 difference.
One of the most trending topics on twitter was the rise in a number of politically exposed persons in the country.
Aside Mr Kyari, other prominent people that have tested positive are the Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed; the Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Frank Okiye; and Mohammed, Mr Abubakar’s son.
Others, including several state governors, are on self-isolation after coming in contact with those infected.
Showing no empathy, many Nigerians took to twitter to mock them, basing their stance on the poor governance the country has witnessed from different governments.
Below is a highlight of activities in the six geopolitical zones on Wednesday.
While Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State said he is on self-isolation as a precautionary measure, his counterpart in Ondo, Rotimi Akeredolu announced the immediate closure of all markets, malls, and shops in the state.
Meanwhile, 20 judges from Osun State judiciary, who recently returned from Dubai, UAE, are in self-isolation, the government announced.
The Delta State House of Assembly adjourned sitting indefinitely while Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Frank Okiye, tested positive. Governor Godwin Obaseki is currently in self-isolation.
Meanwhile, a woman wearing a face mask was taunted inside a market in Aba, Abia state. The incident further exposed the level of ignorance on the ravaging coronavirus in many parts of Nigeria.
Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State directed workers on grade level 1 to 12 to stay at home for two weeks while Bauchi State Governor, Mr Mohammed, spoke from his isolation after his diagnosis with coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Bauchi commissioner Aliyu Tilde, decried the shortage of Covid-19 test kits.
Mr Tilde, who suspected he had been exposed to a positive patient, also said he was unable to get tested because test kits brought to the state were not enough.
Niger State governor, Abubakar Bello, went on self-isolation after meeting Governor Mohammed at Nigeria Governors’ Forum’s meeting on March 18.
Kano State government directed all Tsangaya and Qur’anic schools to close down as part of the fight against the spread of coronavirus in the state.
The Kebbi State House of Assembly also suspended some legislative activities.
The World and Africa
Meanwhile, in Africa, more than 2,400 cases have been confirmed, raising concerns that the pandemic would soon overwhelm the continent’s under-resourced health services.