The Federal Government has warned that a significant increase in coronavirus infections in Nigeria appears imminent by January 2021 due to continued violation of safety protocols during the Christmas period.
This disclosure was made by the Director-General of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu while speaking during the National briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to a report from News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the NCDC boss said that Nigeria would in January 2021 pay the price of violating the COVID-19 protocols during the festivities.
While explaining the helplessness of the federal government in the face of gross violations of Covid-19 safety, Ihekweazu pointed out that the country’s health system was currently struggling to cope with the surge in the number of daily injections.
What the NCDC Director-General is saying
Ihekweazu said, “We just faced the worst week since we started responding to this outbreak. We had more cases in Nigeria last week than in any other previous week since the beginning of the outbreak.
“Pictures and videos from across the country paint a very disheartening situation because it appears that our messaging, our appeals to Nigerians over the last few months have not been heeded and we have gone ahead with business as usual. Events centres are full, social activities are full and so it is no surprise that cases are rising.
“January will be a tough month, no doubt about it. So, we have to brace ourselves for the consequences of the activities that we decided to carry out in December. Our colleagues, the Chief Medical Directors CMDs are here today because of the pressures that we face across the country”, he said.
The NCDC boss added: “Our treatment centres are filling up, we are struggling to keep up, we are struggling to find the facilities and oxygen to manage. Every night we are faced with phone calls of patients desperate for care.
” So, unfortunately, January will be a tough month for all of us. It will be tough, but we still have an opportunity to do what we need to do, liaising with state governors to be more purposeful in implementing the measures that we have collectively agreed on.
“We have seen some of them doing that but many of the states in the country haven’t and pretend as if there will be no consequences. This is the reality we face and so we have got to brace ourselves for January.”
On the new variant of the virus, Iheakweazu said that there was no change in the presentation of symptoms, except that it was more transmissible which would mean more cases, including critical ones, and the possible increase in fatalities.
What you should know
- The spike in the number of Covid-19 cases has seen the Federal Government, in collaboration with the state governments, announced the strict implementation of safety protocols. The government said that its analysis showed that 16 out of every 100 tests carried out, comes out positive.
- In order to reduce the possibility of importing the new strain of the virus, the federal government through the PTF has worked out additional quarantine protocols to be observed by travellers coming from the UK and South Africa.