By Eloho Igbru
Nigeria may not be out of the woods yet as the Federal Government has announced the reopening of isolations centres shut after the country recorded a decline in COVID-19 cases around the country.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire said yesterday during the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 press briefing that he had also directed health workers to be on alert.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Thursday, confirmed 675 new cases in 15 states and the federal capital territory (FCT). It also announced a new fatality toll rising to 1,190 with six new deaths occurring on Thursday.
Recoveries from COVID-19 also rose to 65,474 with NCDC comfirming 232 new recoveries.
Ehanire said: “We are seeing the increase in the number of confirmed covid19 cases in the last few days, which we have frequently alluded to in recent times. This rightly suggests that we may just be on the verge of a second wave of this pandemic. Last week, we recorded 1843 against 1,235 two weeks before that and 1,126 the week before that.
“In the past 24 hours, 474 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded, with an indication that this week’s figure will beat last week’s. As at today, we have crossed 70,000 mark with a total of 70,669 confirmed cases of which 65,242 have been treated and discharged. Sadly the number of deaths has now reached 1184 as against 1,167 two weeks before.
“Every one of us has a role to play in the effort to prevent explosive spread of this infection in Nigeria. While we strive for the best, we must prepare for a possible second wave which we must ensure, does not get to be worse than what we have seen so far, judging from what we observe in other countries.
“The US, UK and other countries are going through very difficult times, and we do sympathize with them. To prepare ourselves, I have directed that all Isolation and Treatment Centres, which were hitherto closed due to reduced patient load, to be prepared for reopening and the staff complement put on alert.”
Hope for a vaccine
Mark Suzman, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) told journalists that the fastest route out of the pandemic is still through vaccination. However, the earliest Africa and other developing countries could get a vaccine would be middle of 2021.
Suzman: “So our first order of business is how do we maximize the resources going into that – currently $2 billion have been raised but that we need at least $5 billion in order to get to at least a first tranche of 20% coverage in developing countries. This is something we’re working very hard on but one of the constraints is certainly financial. We need to raise those resources.”