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New coronavirus cases in Nigeria have increased for two consecutive weeks, a PREMIUM TIMES‘ review of official data showed.

A review of data provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) showed that the country recorded 2,329 new cases in the past week, which is a 22 per cent increase compared to 1,905 cases recorded in the previous week. The previous week’s figure was also higher than the 1,470 cases reported in the penultimate week (May 10- May 16).

While the number of new cases increased in the past two weeks, the number of recoveries have continued to reduce.

A total of 682 patients recovered and were discharged last week, which represents a 3.5 per cent drop when compared to the 707 patients discharged in the previous week. The 707 people discharged in the previous week was a 3.4 per cent drop when compared to the 727 patients discharged in the week between May 10 and May 16.

More deaths from the virus also occurred last week (52) compared to the previous week (45). The previous week’s 45 deaths were however lower than the 47 deaths recorded between May 10 and May 16.

Lagos State remains the epicentre of the pandemic in Nigeria with new 1,389 cases last week after it recorded its highest daily figure of 378 infections on Saturday.

The figure soared when compared to the 984 new cases recorded in the state in the previous week.

Nigeria so far

There are 6,726 active COVID-19 cases in the country as 2,856 people have recovered and have been discharged, with 273 deaths recorded.

A breakdown of the total 9,885 confirmed cases shows that Lagos State has so far reported 4,755 cases, followed by Kano – 951, FCT – 616, Katsina – 364, Edo – 284, Oyo – 280, Borno – 271,Jigawa – 270, Ogun – 259, Kaduna – 244, Bauchi – 236, Rivers – 204, Gombe – 156, Sokoto – 116, Plateau – 104, Kwara – 87, Delta – 80, Zamfara – 76, Nasarawa – 62, Yobe – 52, Akwa Ibom – 45, Osun – 45, Ebonyi – 40, Adamawa – 38, Imo – 34, Kebbi – 33, Niger – 30, Ondo – 25, Ekiti – 20, Enugu – 18, Taraba – 18, Bayelsa – 12, Anambra – 11, Abia – 10, Benue – 7 and Kogi – 2.

Timeline last week

On Sunday, 313 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the country.

On Monday, 229 new cases of the pandemic were reported in the country. This brought the tally of confirmed cases to 8,068 as of 11:55 p.m. on May 25.

On Tuesday, 276 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded.

A total of 389 new cases of the pandemic were reported on Wednesday which brought the number of confirmed cases to 8,733.

On Thursday, 182 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the country.

On Friday, 387 new cases were reported in Nigeria, hence bringing the tally of confirmed cases to 9302 as of 11:55 p.m. on May 29.

On Saturday, 553 new cases of the virus were recorded.

Therefore, a total of 9,855 cases have been reported, out of which 2,856 have recovered and 273 have died.

Testing

Nigeria has so far tested 60,825 persons since the beginning of the outbreak in February. This means the country tested 17,497 people last week, its highest weekly figure of tests conducted.

Despite the increasing figures, many Nigerians say Nigeria is not testing enough and the figures may not present the true situation in the country.

The director-general of NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, had earlier highlighted the need to intensify efforts to improve COVID-19 testing in Nigeria.

Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) [PHOTO: PMNEWS] Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) [PHOTO: PMNEWS]

NCDC said on Saturday it had activated an additional laboratory to its molecular laboratory network.

The Bauchi State Reference Molecular Laboratory is the 29th of its kind in the country.

The health agency in a tweet earlier on Saturday said two more laboratories, in Kwara and Gombe, are in progress.

“We are pleased to announce the inclusion of an additional lab to the NCDC Molecular Laboratory Network: Bauchi State Reference Molecular Laboratory,” it said.

“This brings the total number of labs with the capacity to test for COVID-19 in Nigeria to 29. In progress: Kwara and Gombe.”

However, the NCDC’s target of testing two million people in three months appears increasingly unrealisable.

Controversy in Kogi

Since the two index cases were recorded in Kogi State on Wednesday, the state government has been at loggerheads with the NCDC.

It should be noted that Kogi and Cross Rivers were the only states yet to confirm any case of the virus until Wednesday when the NCDC announced 389 new cases out of which two were from Kogi State.

Kogi State governor, Yahaya BelloKogi State governor, Yahaya Bello Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello

The Kogi government immediately disputed the test results, insisting that it would not accept any test result “conducted outside the state.”

In its reaction, the NCDC advised the state epidemiologist to swing to action with the tracing of the contacts of the infected persons.

Also, the Nigerian Medical Association on Friday said it was “incredibly disturbed” by the response of the Kogi State government over the discovery of two index cases of coronavirus in the North-central state.

“The state Commissioner of Information did not only describe the process of arriving at the diagnosis as fraudulent, but he also went on to smear the frontline Health workers and the NCDC (Nigeria’s infectious disease agency) on live national television,” Francis Faduyile, the NMA president said.

New Restrictions

While its coronavirus cases continue to increase, the Nigerian government appears to be in a quandary as to how to check further spread of the deadly virus.

Amidst the increase, the government lifted its lockdown in major cities and replaced it with an interstate travel ban as well as a nationwide dusk to dawn curfew. The government also asked citizens to ensure social distancing and use face masks in public.

The directives have, however, been largely observed in the breach. Interstate travels are still commonplace while many residents still move about without face masks and do not observe social distancing rules.

However, a large number of businesses remain shut while all airports remain closed except for essential flights.

However, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 is expected to announce a review of the existing policies on Monday.

Coronavirus factsheetCoronavirus factsheet

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