The Nigerian government has officially announced that the country has entered the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Osagie Ehanire, the country’s Minister of Health, disclosed the development during a briefing by the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 on Monday evening, Aug. 2.
“Nigeria has begun to record a sharp increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases since the month of July, as global anxiety over the Delta variant spreads,” Ehanire said.
“All data indicate that we are now no doubt in the third wave of resurgence of the SARS-COV-2 infection, which we saw coming long ago.”
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had previously raised an alarm after the country confirmed its first case of Delta variant, putting officials nationwide on alert.
Babajide Sanwolu, Lagos State Governor who also confirmed the development, said despite efforts to stop the third wave from hitting Nigeria, “the third wave is already here with us, as much as we would have wished for a more positive outcome.”
“We do not have a choice than to tackle it. We are no longer inexperienced, as a people, in dealing with the Coronavirus. Eighteen months into the pandemic, we have learnt a lot, we have seen progress and setbacks, we have been able to finetune our strategies and response, and we are now in a good place to ensure that this third wave is the final one,” he added.
“I believe that we can close this pandemic chapter very soon. But we must put in the work, the compliance, the regard for rules and restrictions.”
Sanwo-Olu said that Lagos, the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, had recorded an average of six deaths since July 26.
As of Monday morning, August 2, Nigeria has more than 7,000 active Covid-19 cases, and 2,149 people have died from the disease.
Nigeria with a population of about 200 million people, used the four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine received in March to start its nationwide inoculation programme.
It received another four million doses of the Moderna vaccine on Sunday, Aug. 1.
The latest development comes on the heels of an ongoing nationwide doctors’ strike over better working conditions.
There are concerns the strike could pose a danger to the treatment of Delta variant and vaccine distribution.
Nigeria had in June barred passengers who are not citizens or permanent residents from entering the country if they have been in South Africa in the past 14 days.
The decision followed similar restrictions imposed on travellers coming from Brazil, India and Turkey.
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