Nigeria COVID-19 cases exceed 46,000 with 453 confirmed new infections

COVID-19 cases in Nigeria rose by 453 on Saturday, pushing the country’s total confirmed cases to 46,140. Six more deaths were recorded for the day, lifting the death toll from 936 to 942.

The new cases are spread across 19 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control showed that the FCT led new cases for the day with 75, followed closely by the country’s pandemic epicentre Lagos with 71 cases.

Benue witnessed a spike in cases with 53 new infections reported, Delta and Borno saw 39 and 30 cases respectively with Enugu recording 25 new cases.

Plateau State saw 24 more cases, Osun – 20, Abia – 19, Oyo -17, Kaduna 16, while Kano and Ebony confirmed 13 new cases each.

Other states with new cases are Ogun – 9, Kwara – 7, Ondo – 6, Gombe – 3,
Ekiti – 2, Akwa Ibom – 1,  Rivers – 1.

The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to spread in the country despite efforts to stop it spread with death toll also edging up.

On Saturday, former Senator Buruji Kashamu joined the list of prominent Nigerians who have lost their lives to the pandemic. They including Mr. Abba Kyari who until his death was the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari and former governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi.

Despite the continued spread of the pandemic, the country has reported fewer cases in the month of August, compared to June and July when cases averaged more than 500 daily, exceeding 600 several times and hitting 745 on June 18.

The Government has extended a phase of eased lockdown by six weeks now. During that time, it has shortened a night curfew that initially lasted from 8 pm to 6 am by four hours. The curfew now lasts from 10 pm to 4 am.

Also, domestic flights have resumed and, this week, schools resumed for exit classes with churches and mosques reopening.

Concerns continue to be raised about the level of testing, however, as the country has tested less than 500,000 persons. As of Saturday night, 314,632 tests have been carried out.

Africa’s Cases Tops One Million
COVID-19 cases in Africa have exceeded one million with hopes that the pandemic may be peaking in some countries mingled with fears of a second wave.

As of 1100 GMT on Friday, an AFP tally put total infections in nations across the continent at 1,011,495 infections with at least 22,115 deaths. Africa’s cases accounted for around five percent of global cases.

Just five countries – South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria, and Ethiopia – account for 75% of all cases, says the continent’s health watchdog the Africa Centres for Diseases Control.

Some countries have recently seen declines of around 20 percent in daily cases but it is too early to confirm this as a trend, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“African countries are doing their best, despite… limitations,” such as weak health systems, Mary Stephen of the WHO Africa office, told AFP Friday.

She, however, warned against the public complacency that can develop in prolonged outbreaks.

“Because we don’t see many people like we used to see in Italy, like 1,000 people dying (a day), people tend to relax, they think the risk is not so much in Africa”.

“We need to avoid complacency,” she said in a phone interview from Brazzaville.

Countries with high infections relative to the size of their populations include South Africa, Djibouti, Gabon, Cape Verde, and Sao Tome and Principe. East African nations Rwanda and Uganda have managed to significantly slow down transmission, while Mauritius has flattened the curve.

South Africa tops Africa in terms of infections with more than 538,184 cases as of Friday. This is more than half of the continental caseload, and the fifth-biggest in the world.

Numbers of daily infections have slightly decreased in recent days to below 10,000 cases — compared to an average 12,000 during much of July.

Egypt, which is the first African country to report a coronavirus case (February 14) has the continent’s second-highest number of cases at 95,006, including 4,630 deaths as of Friday.

Numbers of daily new infections have recently been falling steadily. From an average of 1,500 previously, new cases plunged below 200 this week.

A curfew imposed in March was lifted at the end of June.

Regular domestic and international air traffic resumed on July 1 and tourism, a key income generator for Egypt, is slowly picking up.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, follows Egypt with more than 45,000 cases and more than 930 deaths.

In June, the caseload rose each day by between 500 and 800 but the pace has dropped more recently to between 300 and 400.

“New rise in cases are to be expected,” said the chief of the presidential task force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha.

Nigeria carries out only 3,000 tests per day, about a tenth of the number in South Africa, which has a much smaller population of 58 million.

Algerians spent a bleak Eid-al-Adha festival under a strict lockdown that discouraged family visits and banned movement into or out of 29 of the country’s 48 wilayas (prefectures).

The nation is the fourth worst-hit in Africa in terms of infections — a surge in the past few weeks has brought the total to over 33,626.

Algeria has the continent’s third-highest number of fatalities at 1,273, after South Africa and Egypt.

The pandemic has taken a huge toll on the country’s economy, which is also impacted by the collapse in fossil-fuel prices.

Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous country, has seen a sharp upward trend with infections doubling in less than three weeks in July.

It has so far recorded more than 20,900 cases and over 365 deaths.

The figures are small relative to a population of 110 million, but the WHO frets unrest sparked by the killing of a pop star from the Oromo ethnic group could further accelerate transmission.

The upward spiral is coinciding with mounting signs of virus fatigue.

Once-ubiquitous hand-washing stations are becoming scarcer, hitherto-empty restaurants are filling up, and even some health workers say they are struggling to maintain the same vigilance they had in March.

Around three-quarters of all COVID-19 cases in Ethiopia are in the capital Addis Ababa.
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