*Raises Concerns Over Infection Spread
*As Passengers Escape from Quarantine
By Ernest Omoarelojie
Health Minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire, is worried that the average Nigerian attitude may spell doom for the country in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic third wave which is being made worse with evidence of the Delta Variant in Nigeria.
Ehanire, who gave the hint at an emergency press conference in Abuja on Monday, disclosed that Nigerians have continued to ignore and wave off adherence to public health advisories despite abundance evidence of the emergence of the third wave and accompanying presence of the Delta Variant.
Dr Ehanire, who warned that the severity of this disease should not be underestimated or disregarded given that it is still a major health concern in countries with stronger and better health systems. According to him, the world has witnessed a surge in reported cases of the virus across a significant number of countries, due to the high transmissibility of the Delta Variant in the past 24 hours, adding that Nigeria stands at an increased risk of greater infection if Nigerians continue to neglect public health protocols placed at points of entry, which are our first line of defence and a critical point of concern.
Dr Ehanire cited importation threats from countries that are popular travel destination points for Nigerians, which include the United Kingdom, United States, UAE, France and Turkey. The said countries, he noted, have a high incidence of this virulent strain.
“As of 25th July 2021, we have confirmed a total of 170,895 COVID-19 cases and 2,132 fatalities. There are 4,180 active cases across the country, including 216 new cases recorded in the last 24 hours from 7 states; 108 cases from Lagos State, 96 cases from Akwa Ibom state, 4 from Oyo, 3 from Rivers, 2 from Edo and 1 each from Ekiti and Kano States.
It is worrisome that despite evidence of the emergence of a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens continue to refuse adherence to public health advisories. The severity of this disease should NOT be disregarded as it is still a primary cause of concern, even in countries with stronger health systems.”
Dr Ehanire is indeed worried that despite assiduously monitoring passengers at the various points of entry, particularly as it affects passengers from such endemic countries as India, Turkey and Brazil, health staff keep reporting a trend of abscondment by quarantined passengers, an act which he described as detrimental to our pandemic response and public health safety.
“I entreat all persons to comply with our Port Health staff or risk facing sanctions, including prosecution. Non-compliance with their directives constitutes a risk to national health security and will be handled with commensurate severity.
Covid-19 treatment bed occupancy is also recording an increase given the established emergence of a third wave. In preparation, FMoH has taken steps to urgently scale up and enhance local oxygen capacity even before oxygen consumption increases. Nigeria has invested directly and strategically in ensuring oxygen availability to avert unforeseen incidences of oxygen insufficiency for COVID-19 patients in the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nigeria recorded 213 new covid-19 infections and two deaths in the last 24 hours. The incident, an evidence of the third wave puts the country’s infection figure 171, 324, as of July 26, 2021.
Director-General of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, disclosed this on Tuesday while giving details of the situation in the country via NCDC’s official media handle.
According to the NCDC boss, the new infections were recorded only in 12 states, including Lagos, Rivers, Plateau, Enugu, Oyo, Gombe, Bauchi, Imo, Kaduna, Edo, Ekiti and Ogun which had 157, 20, 12, 6, 6, 3, 2, 2, 2, 1, 1 and 1 new infections respectively.
NCDC statistics revealed that a multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre, EOC, activated at Level 2, had continued to coordinate the national response activities. Accordingly, it noted that it tested over 2.4 million samples of the virus out of which it had detected 10 Co id-19 Delta variant, which the World Health Organisation, Who, tags as a variant of concern, given its increased transmissibility.
The variant is reported to have been detected in over 100 countries and is expected to spread further even as it has also been linked to a surge in cases in countries where it is the dominant strain in circulation. There are ongoing studies to understand the impact of the variant on existing vaccines and therapeutics.