Nigeria’s Health Minister Osagie Ehanire has disclosed that available data indicate that Nigeria is already experiencing the third wave of the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The minister while speaking at a press briefing of the presidential steering committee on COVID-19 on Monday, called for state participation in sample collection, reporting, and treatment of cases, adding that only 17 states made data or sample submissions in the last cycle.
“All data indicate that we are now no doubt in the third wave of resurgence of the SARS-COV-2 infection, which we saw coming long ago. I wish to use the opportunity to again solicit more participation of our states in the roles they have to play, at this very trying time, in sample collection, preparing Isolation and treatment centers and providing logistics for movement of commodities and patients and reporting to the various COVID-19 pillars.
“Only 17 states made data or sample submissions in the last cycle, where Lagos and Akwa Ibom States were the epicenters. The federal ministry of health is engaging resident doctors who have embarked on industrial action with a view to quickly resolving the issues. While this is ongoing, medical directors at federal and state hospitals are directed to ensure that service delivery is not disrupted in their centres.”
The minister said there are available beds and oxygen supply at treatment centers, adding that they are ready to receive cases in the face of the third wave threat. He said most of the deaths recorded were from people who didn’t get vaccinated, hence he advised that Nigerians endeavour to get vaccinated.
He also called on Nigerians to improve on the observance of precautionary measures and report any feeling of unwellness to the nearby COVID-19 centre. He said the health ministry is engaging resident doctors to call off the strike but will ensure treatment of patients is not disrupted by their absence. Meanwhile the presidential steering committee on COVID-19 (PSC) has urged Nigerians to ensure strict adherence to the safety protocol, following the spread of the Delta variant of the virus across states.
The COVID Delta variant, which was first reported in Nigeria on July 8, has been linked to increased infection rates across countries. Speaking at a media briefing on Monday, Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF) and chairman of the PSC, expressed concern over the rising case count in recent times, noting that the country’s test positivity ratio has also increased to about six percent. He said the PSC has been meeting to deliberate on the rising number of COVID-19 cases and proffer ways to prevent the spread of infections.
“The world has added about four million cases and under 100,000 deaths in the last one week. All countries in the West African region are beginning to see the third wave, while Nigeria is recording about 500 cases daily in the last seven days. Our test positivity ratio has increased to about six percent. This is worrisome and shows that we are not out of the woods yet,” he said.
“It is no more news that the Delta variant has made its way into Nigeria. The PSC is particularly concerned about the situation in Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Oyo, Rivers, FCT and Plateau States as this variant has made way into these states and accounts for the rising cases in these states and across the nation. Lagos alone accounts for over 50 percent of the number of cases.