THE Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC says that since the beginning of December 2020 to date in January 2021, Nigeria has recorded a consistent increase in the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus disease, COVID-19, in the country. On the 10th of January 2021, Nigeria reached the “100,000 cases milestone”, with 100,087 confirmed cases and 1,358 deaths.
The NCDC is therefore issuing this public health advisory to alert the public that the non-adherence to public health and social measures is exacerbating the public health response efforts to limit the continued spread of COVID-19.
It explained that the average number of daily confirmed cases recorded in the first week of January 2021, was higher than the cumulative cases recorded the last week of December 2020.
Following the festive season, and in view of the increase in the number of confirmed cases in Nigeria, the NCDC and partners, with leadership from the Federal Ministry of Health and Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19 is putting in place measures to strengthen the public health response to the pandemic.
While the public may be tired of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact, the virus is taking advantage of the fatigue and complacency, instead gaining momentum and taking advantage of lapses in the adherence to the public health measures. To prevent the further spread of COVID-19, the public is reminded to wear a face mask properly, wash hands with soap and water, and physically distance from others.
This is not the time to let down our guard. The virus that causes COVID-19 never went away and is still very much with us, as evidenced by the rising cases in Nigeria and globally.
COVID-19 can affect all age groups with severe outcomes in the elderly (50 years and above), and in persons with co-morbidities such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer etc. Recently there has been increased infection among the younger age groups, therefore, NCDC urges all persons to take responsibility and adhere to the non-pharmaceutical interventions (regular hand washing, maintaining physical distance and proper use of face mask).
As Nigeria’s public health institute, NCDC continues to work with other agencies under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Health, in leading the public health response to the outbreak. In addition, the agency continues to play a key role in the multi-sectoral response, within the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF-COVID-19), established by President Muhammadu Buhari. Given the sustained increase in cases, NCDC continues to sustain the public health response by;
- Working closely with state governments, providing support through the deployment of Rapid Response Teams, provision of laboratory and medical supplies as well as other response activities. We urge state governments to take greater ownership of their response, maintaining their COVID-19 surveillance structures, laboratory diagnosis and testing. Unless states actively test, they will not know their disease burden, putting local communities at greater risk of adverse outcomes, if the virus is not detected and impacts vulnerable populations.
- NCDC has significantly scaled-up the national testing capacity by expanding the number of laboratories for COVID-19 testing across states. Testing remains one of the best tools we have in our fight against COVID-19, as it enables prompt clinical management and helps in preventing further transmission. The cumulative number of samples tested in the country has increased significantly, and some states have sustained their higher levels of testing.
Although the country has yet to meet its total testing capacity, this remains a major priority for the response.
- Sample collection sites have also been established in many LGAs, making public health testing more easily accessible. Testing in public laboratories remains free of charge (unless for travel purposes in private laboratories, where pricing structures vary).
- Re-iterating to healthcare professionals that they must maintain a high index of suspicion, especially when treating patients with breathing difficulties and also present with symptoms common to COVID-19.
- The NCDC and partners have sustained the ongoing communications campaign, with the theme #TakeResponsibility. The aim is to encourage Nigerians to take individual and collective responsibility for their actions, taking the necessary precautions to protect themselves, their loved ones and all those they come in contact with.
Nigerians are therefore urged to adhere to the recommended public health and social measures advised by public health authorities. Avoid all non-essential travel within and outside Nigeria to reduce the risk of transmission. The virus that causes COVID-19 is more likely to spread in mass gatherings, especially in confined spaces with poor ventilation.
It is advised that people avoid mass gatherings during this time, and if necessary meet outdoors and adhere to physical distancing and other public health measures. All these measures are critical in order to sustain the gains made since the onset of the pandemic.
We also strongly advise business owners, employees and religious leaders to institute the strict enforcement and adherence to public measures, which include the wearing of face masks, ensuring the availability of handwashing facilities or providing hand sanitizers.
The NCDC remains grateful to all frontline health workers, state public health teams, stakeholders, and partners who have continued to work extremely hard since the beginning of the pandemic supporting the response efforts. We are all eager to get back to the normalcy in our lives, so the continued response and end to the outbreak starts and ends with all of us.
– Jan. 12, 2020 @ 09:50 GMT |