By Hassan Zaggi
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has warned that the number of COVID-19 cases are on the increase in Nigeria.
In an advisory, the NCDC called on Nigerians to be cautious and adhere to all precautionary measures to avoid the escalation of the disease in Nigeria.
According to the NCDC, as at December 10, 2020, over 71,000 confirmed cases and 1,190 deaths have been reported across 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
It therefore, regretted that: “Since the beginning of September to the end of November 2020, Nigeria has recorded a gradual increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.
“However, in the last week (November 30 to December 6) our surveillance system has recorded a sharp increase in cases. The average number of daily cases recorded in the last week was higher than was recorded between September –November.”
On the situation at the states level, the NCDC said: “The COVID-19 situation continues to differ across states. While there has been an increase in the number of cases across 23 states in the country, majority (73%) of the cases detected were from Lagos, Kaduna and the Federal Capital Territory.
“Eight of the 23 states with an increase in the number of cases, reported a record high number of weekly cases last week.”
The advisory disclosed that there has been an increase in the number of tests carried out nationwide in the last five weeks.
“It is important to note that in the last week, the proportion of people who have tested positive among those tested, increased from 3.9% to 6.0% when compared to the previous week.
“However, in the last week, there has been a decline in the rate of testing across 12 states.”
While stressing that it would continue to work with states to scale up both demand for and access to COVID-19 testing, the NCDC revealed that the states that recorded a decline in the rate of testing include Sokoto, Kebbi,Niger, Yobe, Borno, Gombe, Bauchi, Plateau, Taraba, Nasarawa, Benue and Anambra.
“Given the epidemiology of the virus, the increase in cross country travel, and poor testing rates, none of these states can report to have full control over the pandemic yet,” the NCDC said.
The NCDC, therefore advised Nigerians to limit all non-essential domestic and international travel.
This, it said, was especially important for intending travelers from countries recording a high number of COVID-19 cases.
“If you must travel to Nigeria, please adhere to the seven-day isolation period and post-arrival test,” the NCDC insisted.
It also advised Nigerians to always wear a face mask that covers the nose and mouth when in public settings, such as market place, office, schools, religious settings etc.; maintain physical distance of at least, 2 metres from others in public settings; wash hands frequently with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer when hands are not visibly dirty and running water is not readily available and also avoid direct contact with people such as hugging and handshaking.
“Cover the mouth and nose properly with a tissue paper, or your elbow when sneezing and/or coughing. Dispose of the tissue properly immediately after use and wash your hands.
“Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of a respiratory illness.
“Stay at home if one feels unwell and call the state helpline. Do not mingle with others if one has symptoms such as fever, cough or sudden loss of sense of taste or smell.
“Public settings including religious settings, businesses, markets should ensure adherence to public health and safety measures
“Vulnerable groups i.e. people 60 and above and/or people with pre-existing medical conditions should avoid non-essential outings and visitors. Where possible, have a friend or family member bring you supplies,” the NCDC reiterated.