Nigeria may be on the verge of a second wave of COVID-19 infections amid the rising number of confirmed cases over the last few weeks in the country.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, warned Nigerians at a televised news conference in Abuja on Thursday. He confirmed 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 minister’s comments came a day after South Africa said it had officially entered a second wave. The health minister said the rise in cases was mostly driven by increase in infections within communities and, to a lesser extent, by travellers entering Nigeria.
Ehanire, addressing journalists as part of a weekly briefing by Nigeria’s COVID-19 task force, said 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 about 200 million people, has had 70,669 confirmed cases which resulted in 1,184 deaths as of Thursday.
Speaking in the same vein, the Coordinator of Covid-19 Task Force, Dr. Sani Aliyu, said the threat of a second wave could be averted if people observed social distancing measures, especially, during the upcoming Christmas period.
“This is a delicate period for the response. We may potentially be heading into an epidemic crisis but there is still time to reverse this trend,” he said.
Yesterday, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention urged rich countries that have ordered more COVID-19 vaccines than they need to consider distributing excess doses to Africa.