By Emmanuel Iyoho
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has issued a public health advisory given the recent increase in Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) cases in Nigeria and globally.
This is based on the prevailing risk from the virus and the need for religious organisations, community leaders, and Nigerians in general to take necessary precautions.
In the latest situation made available by the agency’s director general, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, stated that from the report of the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of weekly COVID-19 cases has increased globally for the third consecutive week.
Similarly, he said the national surveillance system has detected a gradual increase in the daily COVID-19 cases recorded thecountry.
Adetifa noted that although confirmed cases increased from 267 to 445 between weeks 21 to 24, hospitalization and fatalities have remained low suggesting these were mostly mild to moderate cases or in the lag phase before accompanyingincrease in severe disease and hospitalization.
“Genomic surveillance confirms Omicron and its various offspring (sub lineages) remain the dominant circulating variant of concern associated with the spread of the disease in the country. The recent increase in cases may be in part or whole due to increased testing over the last few weeks, increased circulation of Omicron sub-lineages (BA.4 and BA.5 as seen elsewhere), and an increase in seasonal illness with cold and cough symptoms as well as poor adherence to preventive measures such as the use of masks,” said the director general.
Adetifa maintained that in addition to the COVID-19 situation in Nigeria and globally, backdrop of suboptimal COVID-19 vaccination uptake and increasing COVID-19 case numbers calls for increased individual and collective responsibility as the virus that causes COVID-19 was more likely to spread in mass gatherings and when people do not adhere to preventive measures such as physical distancing, mask use, and hand hygiene.
According to the NCDC boss, “Our focus is to ensure response continuity for COVID-19 and improve our health system while giving needed attention to other priorities within our mandate including the ongoing monkeypox response.
The agency urged Nigerians to prevent the onset of a full-fledged fifth COVID-19 wave by remaining mindful of the high risk of spread of COVID-19 and acting in tandem by adhering to recommended public health safety measures.
Since Nigeria’s first case was detected on February 27, 2020, the country had 256,695 confirmed cases with 3,144 deaths across 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Over the last two years, Nigeria, just like the rest of the world has battled a pandemic that led to the hospitalisation and deaths of thousands and beyond health, also disrupted livelihoods and economies.
The national multisectoral response is coordinated by a Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC-COVID-19) with the NCDC leading the public health response.
In April 2022, due to the declining number of COVID-19 cases, the availability of vaccines, and the increasing number of people vaccinated in Nigeria and globally, there was a further easing of the COVID-19 restrictions and protocols.
Despite easing restrictions, the NCDC and Federal Ministry of Health through the National Multisectoral COVID-19 Emergency Operations Centre (COVID-19 EOC) has been working closely with states and other partners to monitor the epidemiology of the virus and sustain response activities in the country.
The national EOC maintains active surveillance in conjunction with State Epidemiologists, supports states to ensure that access to testing is provided for prompt management of confirmed cases, and coordinates genomic surveillance to detect emerging variants.
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