Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has warned that Nigeria is slipping into the second wave of coronavirus infections amid rising number of confirmed cases in Africa’s most populous country over the last few weeks.
Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who spoke today, December 10 at a news briefing in Abuja, said that 1,843 cases were recorded last week compared with 1,235 two weeks before that, and 1,126 the week before that.
“We may just be on the verge of a second wave of this pandemic,” he said.
The health minister said that the rise in cases was mostly driven by an increase in infections within communities and, to a lesser extent, by travellers entering Nigeria.
Dr. Ehanire said that he had ordered the reopening of all isolation and treatment centres that had been closed due to falling patient numbers.
Nigeria has not been hit as hard as other countries by the pandemic. The country, which has a population of around 200 million people, has had 70,669 confirmed cases which resulted in 1,184 deaths as of Thursday.
The coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on Covid19, Dr. Sani Aliyu also said that the threat of a second wave could be averted if people would observe social distancing measures and avoid the temptation to gather in large groups during the upcoming Christmas period.
“This is clearly a delicate period for the response. We may potentially be heading into an epidemic crisis but there is still time to reverse this trend.”
Meanwhile the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has asked rich countries that have ordered more COVID-19 vaccines than they need to consider distributing excess doses to Africa.