The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has warned that citizens will pay heavily in January for disregarding Covid-19 health protocols, and noted that the nation’s health system is struggling to cope with the increasing number of coronavirus infections daily.
Director-General, NCDC, Dr Chikwe Iheakwazu stated this at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 on Tuesday and said:
“We just faced the worst week since we started responding to this outbreak. We had more cases in Nigeria last week than in any other previous week since the beginning of the outbreak.
“Pictures and videos from across the country paint a very disheartening situation because it appears that our messages, our appeals to Nigerians over the last few months have not been heeded and we have gone ahead with business as usual.
“Events centres are full, social activities are full and so it is no surprise that cases are rising.
“January will be a tough month, no doubt about it. So, we have to brace ourselves for the consequences of the activities that we have decided to carry out in December.”
Meanwhile, the federal government has expressed its disappointment with the very low testing for Covid-19 by state governments despite the huge resources made available to them.
Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, Boss Mustapha said: “Reports received also point to the fact that laboratories recently established in the states are not working optimally. You will recall that we moved from two laboratories to about 90 (public and private) in all the states of the federation.”
Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation noted that “their inability to function optimally has resulted in unacceptable levels of delay in receiving results and the pressure on the National Reference Labs. We wish to urge all states to reopen all laboratories and ensure that testing is expanded and turnaround time for results is substantially reduced.
“We are also seeing increasing transmission among younger people and this is not considered good and safe. We must therefore exercise utmost restraint by taking responsibility,” Mustapha said.
By Abel Ejikeme