Nigeria, South Africa post daily highest continental COVID-19 infections

Buhari okays oxygen plants for states

Nigeria has joined South Africa in reporting daily highest COVID-19 cases on the continent.

This comes as the most populous black nation posted 57 deaths for week 53, the maximum in a single week since the outbreak of the disease in the country.

IN the interim, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved immediate establishment of at least one oxygen plant in every state of the federation.

Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this at the briefing of the body yesterday in Abuja, added that approval had also been given to rehabilitate five others across the tertiary health institutions in Abuja.

The SGF said the private sector-led CACOVID had pledged distribution of 100 oxygen cylinders daily to critical care centres in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) from now till March 31, adding that the task force was making progress regarding getting vaccines for Nigerians.

Mustapha acknowledged rising infections among healthcare workers, and therefore, sought escalation of surveillance.

He said: “What is currently confronting us is a critical phase of infections globally. We are constantly reviewing our strategy to emerging situations, especially in risk communication, vaccine hesitancy, and fake news/disinformation.

“Yesterday, January 4, 2021, we recorded 1,204 infections. This was the highest daily number ever posted since we commenced the national response. From our analysis, we are beginning to see the effect of activities carried out during the Christmas festivities.

We can only hope that the numbers would not escalate beyond control. We are still appealing to citizens to take full responsibility through compliance and vigilance. ​

“As at today, the statistics for Nigeria show the following, cumulative cases: 91,351; cumulative tests: 958,911 and deaths: 1,318.

The SGF continued: “As we have always maintained, testing is a key strategy under the national response. To this end, we can report that there are about 100 laboratories across the country. They include 71 public labs; 22 private labs and seven corporate labs.

Collectively, they are to improve testing in the country. Regrettably, however, there is still very low testing in a number of states.”

The chairman noted that in continuation of the engagement with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), the PTF has scanned Batch B corps members using RDTs, with 731 of the 35,419 mobilised cadets returning positive as against the 108 tally of Batch A.

Also speaking, Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, observed that the major factor contributing to the mortalities was late presentation at treatment centres, appealing to caregivers to be expeditious with cases.

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