Nigeria Blames Omicron For Over 4000 COVID-19 Cases Confirmed In 24 Hours
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed that in 24 hours, more than 4,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been recorded across the country.
The NCDC stated that the recent spike in COVID-19 cases across the country is as a result of the Omicron variant.
The epidemiological data showed that Lagos State is currently driving the fourth wave of the pandemic, as earlier stated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the NCDC.
The confirmation came as the Federal Government, through the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC), the WHO and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) urged Nigerians to celebrate the Christmas and New Year holidays responsibly.
It added that there is an increasing trend in the number of hospitalised persons in isolations.
The agency, however, warned that should the increasing trend continue and to prevent the healthcare system from being overwhelmed, the Federal Government may reintroduce certain stringent measures like curfews, restrictions on gatherings etc.
According to the NCDC, as of December 22, Lagos accounted for 3,393 COVID-19 cases, representing 84 per cent of the total cases of 4,035 reported in a single day.
It, therefore, urged Nigerians to be cautious, especially during the yuletide season, which has the innate potential to escalate cases of COVID-19, particularly through the Delta and Omicron variants.
According to the NCDC, a total of 231,413 confirmed cases have been reported in the country, with 211,853 discharges, and sadly, 2,991 people have lost their lives.
PSC COVID-19 Chairman, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, in a statement yesterday in Abuja, said: “As we prepare to celebrate with our families and loved ones, it is important that we do so safely by taking the necessary precautionary measures to stop the further spread of COVID-19 in our country.
“Nigeria is now experiencing the 4th wave COVID- 19 as new cases have continued to rise.
“This is the result of a mix of very low vaccination coverage, increased travels and movements, reduced compliance to public health social measures and highly transmissible Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant now circulating in the country,” he added.
The PSC Chairman strongly appealed to Nigerians to imbibe the culture of citizen’s responsibility and observe the following safety measures to reduce community transmission of COVID- 19 during the festive period.
“Avoid activities that involve mass gathering, especially in enclosed spaces, as follows; Families are advised to limit the number of visitors to their homes and put in place precautionary safety measures;
“Any gathering in excess of 50 people should be done in open spaces with physical distancing;
“Indoor religious congregation should be limited to 50 per cent capacity with full compliance to public health social measures; and Face masks and hand sanitizers should be used at all times regardless of vaccination status while in public spaces…”
‘Ignoring COVID-19 will just perpetuate it’
The WHO has also issued a reminder that “anyone who ignores COVID-19 is…perpetuating it”.
WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean region, Ahmed Al-Mandhari, in his message said the pandemic was far from over.
Citing the latest modelling data, Al-Mandhari said that 22 countries and territories in the region would probably see more than 17 million cases and over 314,000 deaths by the end of the year.
In spite of the holiday season, “failure to apply the established public health and social measures could cause alarming surges in the number of COVID-19 cases and related deaths,” he said.
CAN to citizens: don’t let off your guards
CAN yesterday advised citizens not to let off their guards on COVID-19 protocols to curtail its spread during the yuletide.
President, CAN and Co-Chairman, Nigeria Inter Religious Council (NIREC), Rev. Samson Ayokunle, gave the advice in a statement yesterday in Abuja.
Ayokunle said the call was necessary as the world had entered the fourth phase of the pandemic and it was spreading faster than other phases.
The clergyman also urged political leaders to use the Christmas season to bring relief and joy to the citizens.