Nigeria declares 4th wave, strengthens sensitisation campaign

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A few weeks after the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, gave an indication of a possible fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has officially confirmed the development.

It said the country has recorded a 500 per cent increase in the number of confirmed cases within the past two weeks.

The director-general of the disease centre, Ifedayo Adefila, in a statement he personally signed on Sunday, noted that the rise in infections has been linked to both the Delta and Omicron variants of the rampaging virus.

According to the NCDC data, the surge in infections which began on December 9, continued to rise with the country recording over 7,500 cases within two weeks, while the number of active COVID-19 cases skyrocketed from 3,000 to over 9,000.

The disease centre said as of December 19, 2021, a total of 223,887 cases and 2,985 deaths have been recorded across all 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The latest data also shows that Nigeria has so far tested more than 3.7 million samples out of its estimated 200 million population.

The statement by NCDC reads in part; “The country is now in a fourth COVID-19 wave. The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, the Federal Ministry of Health, as well as NCDC and its partners, are therefore intensifying risk communication efforts to remind Nigerians of the risk we face and need to take collective responsibility to reduce transmission of the virus.”

Strengthening sensitisation

Ahead of the yuletide season, the NCDC said it has rolled out plans to curb further reckless spread of the pandemic, even as it warns Nigerians against losing guards.

The disease centre said it has launched a new campaign, which it tagged; #CelebrateResponsibly, noting that it is targeted to sensitise Nigerians to take all necessary precautions as they celebrate Christmas and new year.

According to Mr Adefila, the #CelebrateResponsibly campaign targets the entertainment industry, transport industry, religious settings, media, security personnel, young people, and the general public to promote adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures before, during and after the festive period.

The director also urged Nigerians to avoid all non-essential travels within and outside Nigeria to reduce the risk of transmission, saying the virus that causes COVID-19 is more likely to spread in mass gatherings especially when held indoors with full capacity and poor ventilation.

“We strongly recommend outdoor events with physical distancing, compulsory use of facemasks, and provision of handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers,” he said.

Vaccination Campaign

On vaccination, Mr Adefila urged Nigerians to get vaccinated against the pandemic.

“Please make use of every opportunity provided to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The government has made these vaccines available for all eligible citizens and booster doses available for those previously vaccinated.”, he said.

According to the Reuter COVID-19 tracker, Nigeria has administered at least 12,214,538 doses of COVID vaccines so far.

The centre, therefore, urges “individuals, traditional and religious leaders, business owners, the media, transport workers and other institutions and sectors to join the #CelebrateResponsibly campaign by adopting the key messages and sharing within their networks.”

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