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 FG raises alarm over COVID-19 surge

…identifies 10 Delta Variants from travellers

…records 526 cholera deaths in 18 states, FCT

As the deadly COVID-19 Delta Variant continues to wreak havoc in countries, the Federal Government has raised the alarm over the rising cases of coronavirus infections in the country.

In an emergency briefing on Monday in Abuja, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who expressed worry over the failure of Nigerians to protect themselves from the virus by wearing face masks, observing social distances and other COVID-19 protocols, disclosed that the highly transmissible Delta Variant has been confirmed in the country

Ehanire warned that Nigeria was a well-traversed country and as such, was susceptible to further importation of the virus, adding that in 24 hours, 216 new COVID-19 cases were recorded from seven states; 108 cases from Lagos State, 96 cases from Akwa Ibom state, 4 from Oyo, 3 from Rivers, 2 from Edo and 1 each from Ekiti and Kano States.

While noting that the COVID-19 treatment bed occupancy was equally recording an increase due to emergence of a third wave, he said the ministry had taken steps to urgently scale-up and enhance local oxygen capacity even before oxygen consumption increases.

He said: “In the past 24 hours, the world has witnessed an increase in reported cases of COVID-19 across a significant number of countries, due to the high transmissibility of the Delta Variant.

“This threat includes importation from countries that are popular travel destinations for Nigerians, including the United Kingdom, United States, UAE, France and Turkey, which have high incidence of this virulent strain.

“It is worrisome that despite evidence of the emergence of a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens continue to refuse adherence to public health advisories. The severity of this disease should not be disregarded as it is still a primary cause of concern, even in countries with stronger health systems.”

The minister, who frowned at the abscondment of quarantined passengers from high-risk countries like India, Turkey, and Brazil, said such acts were not only detrimental to on-going efforts to sustain the pandemic response, but poses grave threat to public health safety.

Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, revealed that thus far, 10 Delta Variants of the coronavirus have been identified in inbound travellers coming into the country through Lagos and Abuja.

“With sequencing efforts, we have detected 10 cases which are confirmed to be the Delta Variant. We are working hard to ensure genomic surveillance of traveller’s samples and to scale up our genomic sequencing capacity.

“While doing this, we are scaling up our testing capability by the rollout of rapid diagnostic test kits (RTDs), in selected states nationwide.  We encourage congregate settings such as hospitals, schools, workplaces and correctional facilities to take advantage of the WHO approved RTDs kits to detect cases promptly.”

On the cholera outbreak in the country, the NCDC boss noted that, “as at July 22, a total of 22,130 suspected cases and unfortunately 526 deaths have been reported due to this illness in 18 states and the FCT.

“However, in the last two weeks, a decline in cases has been recorded and the Emergency Operations Centre in collaboration with the Ministry of Water Resources, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and other partners is continuing to coordinate a multi sector response.”




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