The Nigerian government has said it is worried by the recent spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country, as over 600 new cases were recorded twice this week.
The total number of cases in the most populous African country exceeded 14,000, as the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed 681 new cases, the highest daily increase so far, late Thursday. The country also recorded 663 cases on Tuesday alone.
The development is quite alarming and a source of concern to the Nigerian authorities, according to Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation who doubles as the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, at a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday.
Mustapha said a majority of Nigerians were still susceptible to COVID-19 and cautioned that it could be more deadly if the citizens allowed it to transmit easily among the people.
The admonition remained valid, the top official said, while emphasizing the need for vigilance and self-preservation.
The government would continue to monitor the level of compliance with the guidelines nationwide, and consultations would also continue, he said further.
With the latest 663 new cases recorded from 17 states out of the 36 in Nigeria, the total figure so far recorded in the country has reached 14,554. This figure includes 387 deaths and 4,494 recoveries since the index case was recorded in late February.
This upward surge recorded in the country was expected considering the relaxation of the mandatory lockdowns and other measures put in place to curb the spread of the pandemic, said Chikwe Ihekweazu, the head of the NCDC.
“As we have eased the restrictions that we instituted across the country, and as states ease those restrictions, we have expected the numbers to increase and we have announced severally to expect an increase in numbers,” Ihekweazu told the media in Abuja on Thursday.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, public health officers across the states have played a critical role in contact tracing, he said.
According to the disease control official, Nigeria now has the capacity to carry out up to 10,000 tests daily across the country, as the authorities rapidly scale up laboratory testing for the novel coronavirus.
The NCDC has activated three additional laboratories in the country, to bring the number of laboratories that can conduct the polymerase chain reaction testing for COVID-19 in Nigeria to 33, Ihekweazu added.