COVID-19 cases in Nigeria exceed 50,000

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GUANGZHOU, March 21, 2020 (Xinhua) -- Photo taken on March 21, 2020 shows packed medical supplies at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province. Medical supplies donated to African countries by Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation were packed and ready for shipping. The supplies, which include masks, testing kits, protective suits and other materials, will be transported to Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, to aid the anti-coronavirus fight in Africa. (Xinhua/Tian Jianchuan)
GUANGZHOU, March 21, 2020 (Xinhua) -- Photo taken on March 21, 2020 shows packed medical supplies at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province. Medical supplies donated to African countries by Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation were packed and ready for shipping. The supplies, which include masks, testing kits, protective suits and other materials, will be transported to Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, to aid the anti-coronavirus fight in Africa. (Xinhua/Tian Jianchuan)

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria has exceeded 50,000, with 593 new cases reported by local health authorities late Wednesday.

The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) which heads national response to the pandemic said the new cases were recorded across 16 states in the country, bringing the national tally to 50,488.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, recorded its index case on Feb. 27 in the southwestern state of Lagos.

So far, the number of deaths related to the novel coronavirus has reached 985, with recoveries standing at 37,304, according to NCDC data.

Health authorities have so far carried out almost 360,000 tests since February, the NCDC records indicated, with over 12,199 cases still active across the country.

Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub, has remained the epicenter of COVID-19, with 17,092 confirmed cases, or almost one-third of the national total. The capital, Abuja, is the second most affected city or state in Nigeria, with 4,837 confirmed cases.

A multi-sectoral national emergency operations center activated at Level 3 has continued to coordinate the national response activities across the country, although the Nigerian government said it believes more is needed to combat and ultimately manage the COVID-19 spread.

Authorities have published information on testing locations in all states and their phone numbers amid strengthened efforts to enhance community engagement, sensitization and awareness campaigns.

The Nigerian government on Wednesday said that the COVID-19 pandemic across the world, and indeed Nigeria, had challenged the prospects of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, a senior special assistant to the Nigerian President on SDGs, told a webinar in Abuja that the socio-economic uncertainties and disruptions of the pandemic came at a substantial cost to the Nigerian economy – which was largely dependent on oil and gas revenues.

“This extraordinary moment requires that we all come together to find creative and innovative ways to build more equal, inclusive, and resilient societies,” Orelope-Adefulire said. “We must urgently build back if we are to be on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian government has appreciated the Chinese government and people for their generous support and assistance.

In a phone conversation with Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama on Wednesday, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China is willing to continue providing help and support for Nigeria’s fight against COVID-19 till the African country finally prevails over it.

The Chinese side has provided Nigeria with anti-epidemic materials and shared its experience in epidemic prevention, and Chinese enterprises and civil organizations have also voluntarily offered supplies, Wang noted.

China has announced that once successfully developed, the vaccine will be used as a public good to provide assistance to developing countries including those in Africa, Wang said, adding that China will continue to push forward this process and strengthen vaccine cooperation with Africa.

Onyeama, on his own part, said that Nigeria attaches importance to China’s important role in international affairs, and appreciates the Chinese government and people for their generous support and assistance, which shows the close unity and brotherly friendship between Nigeria and China.

When it comes to vaccines, developing countries including those in Africa are indeed at an unfavorable position, he said, and the Nigerian side highly appreciates China’s decision to treat any vaccine as an international public product, which demonstrates China’s demeanor as a major country with a global vision.

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