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Nigeria and COVID-19

There is no doubt that Nigeria is undergoing unprecedented and uncharted paths caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the world. As at Sunday April 5, the country  reported 232 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections. Out of this number, 33 have been discharged after successful treatment, while 5 deaths have been recorded. Although these numbers are comparatively low, the concern is strong that this might be so because of the limited number of tests being carried out. While several countries around the world, particularly developed nations, are carrying out tens of thousands of tests daily, Nigeria’s test ratio averages less than 200 a day. It is therefore understandable why the numbers may be low. Yet, observers point out that all the facts are not clear, as to why evidences of sick people rushing to the hospitals and demanding treatment or even dropping dead on the streets, is not prevalent. Whatever the case, Nigeria must act to take preemptive steps to check the spread of the corona virus pandemic in the country.

The Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, has continued to issue regular updates on COVID-19 developments in Nigeria. During the press briefing of the Taskforce convened by the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation on Friday, April 3, the Federal government urged State governments to provide facilities of at least a 300 bed-space in their respective States, in preparation for a possible upsurge in the spread of the Coronavirus disease. The facilities are to serve as isolation centres and intensive care units for infected persons.  The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has asked Nigerians to continue to take preventive measures to curb the spread of the Coronavirus disease. He stated that the Ministry of Health is working in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Investment for the indigenous production of gloves, masks and possibly, ventilators to meet the demands for these materials in the country. He added that Nigeria is also set to take delivery of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including ventilators and a team of medical experts from China as aid from a group of Chinese companies working in Nigeria, in the fight against COVID-19. Ehanire  added that routine health care services are to continue in all hospitals, with only a wing of select health facilities dedicated to the treatment of Coronavirus patients.

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria has taken various dimensions and raised several other concerns, including the peddling of fake news. On the menace of fake news, the Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has stated that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has given a directive to television and radio stations not to entertain any unverified claims of cure or invention of vaccines, drugs and treatments for COVID-19. There is also the concern that several State governments may not yet have come to grips with the seriousness of the situation. Apart from the notable example of Lagos State, a lot of the actions by the States, appear to be scratching the surface rather than preparing to deal with the issues. Yes, some State governments are also employing a number of measures in the fight against COVID-19, by setting up isolation centres and enforcing lockdown orders, to aid contact tracing, yet several of the isolation centres, would appear to be building shells, without medical supplies, equipment or staff to deal with a serious outbreak.


COVID-19 Statistics As at 09:30 pm on April 5, 2020:

    1. 232 confirmed cases
    1. 33 discharged
    1. 5 deaths

Breakdown of cases by State:

    1. FCT- 47
    1. Lagos- 120
    1. Osun- 20
    1. Edo- 9
    1. Oyo- 9
    1. Bauchi- 6
    1. Akwa Ibom- 5
    1. Kaduna- 5
    1. Ogun- 4
    1. Enugu- 2
    1. Ekiti- 2
    1. Rivers-1
    1. Benue- 1
    1. Ondo- 1



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