Nigeria, on Monday, reached another devastating milestone as 1,024 people tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as of Sunday night.
The new figure catapulted the country’s total cases to more than 100,000.
This is coming about 11 months after the country recorded its first infection in an Italian traveller on February 27, 2020.
Some experts had hoped that Nigeria and much of the African continent would be spared by the pandemic in its early stages but since the second wave began in early December, the disease has been spreading ruthlessly, setting new records after months of low numbers that led to a lax on guard to safety and weak enforcement of health protocols.
On Sunday, Nigeria reported from 16 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) 1, 024 new cases pushing the total number of infections in the country to 100, 087.
One in every six persons (16 per cent) tested for COVID-19 in Nigeria in the past two weeks tested positive for the virus, indicating how far the virus has spread.
PREMIUM TIMES’ review of official data showed that Nigeria set a weekly record of reporting about 10, 000 cases in the past one week.
The spike in infections is also leading to fatalities.
Eight people died from the disease on Sunday, taken the death toll to 1,358 in total. Eight people also died on Saturday.
In the past 23 days, there have been 146 fatalities as a result of COVID-19 complications in Nigeria.
The government has blamed the increasing deaths on later referrals of COVID-19 patients to treatment centres.
The Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, speaking at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday said caregivers are holding on to suspected cases for too long before presenting them for treatment.
But health experts believe the lowering of guard on safety and the weak enforcement of protocols especially in the country’s major airports in Abuja and Lagos could be responsible for the recent surge, warning that the situation could get worse if citizens keep violating safety protocols.
The federal government recently warned that a significant increase in COVID-19 infections in Nigeria appears imminent this January due to continued violation of safety protocols during the Christmas period.
Active cases in the country rose sharply from about 3,000 about a month ago to over 17,000 due to a rise in new infections.
Of the over 100,000 cases so far, 80,030 patients have been discharged from hospitals after treatment.
The 1,024 new cases were reported from 17 states: Lagos – 653, Plateau – 63, Benue – 48, Zamfara – 45, FCT – 42, Rivers – 27, Ondo – 26, Adamawa – 26, Kaduna – 22, Edo -18, Ogun – 16, Imo – 12, Kano – 9, Yobe – 6, Ekiti – 5, Jigawa – 4, Osun – 2.
Lagos led with 653 new cases on Sunday, more than half of the daily total. The commercial city is Nigeria’s coronavirus epicentre with a total of over 35,000 confirmed cases and about 252 deaths.
Mr Mamora warned Nigerians against complacency in containing the COVID-19 pandemic as the much-awaited vaccines may not arrive the country as soon as expected.
So far, Nigeria has conducted over a million COVID-19 tests.
The number of COVID-19 infections worldwide surpassed 90 million on Sunday morning, about a year since the highly infectious disease began spreading around the globe.
The grim milestone was reached as many countries commence coronavirus vaccination to get as much of its people vaccinated in record time.
COVID-19, the potentially dangerous pneumonia-like disease caused by the coronavirus and said to have emanated from a local Wuhan market to spread to over 200 countries, has claimed more than 1.9 million lives, according to data from worldometer.info.
Africa also on Sunday passed the milestone of three million confirmed cases of COVID-19, including more than 72,000 deaths, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
South Africa, with more than 1.2 million reported cases, including 32,824 deaths, accounts for more than 30 per cent of the total for the continent of 54 countries and 1.3 billion people.
The high proportion of COVID-19 cases in South Africa could be because the country carries out more tests than many other African countries.
Nigeria is the ninth most affected African country after South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Libya, Kenya and Algeria.