The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control says the country is now reaching a critical level, adding that the hospital capacity will no longer be able to cope with more serious COVID-19 cases.
The Director-General of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said this in a series of tweets on Monday while reacting to the spike in COVID-19 infections in the last one month.
Ihekweazu said this as the fear of COVID-19 spread at the National Identity Management Commission grew on Monday because Nigerians besieged the NIMC offices following the workers’ suspension of the strike they embarked upon on Thursday.
Nigerians have been trooping to the NIMC offices since December 14, 2020 when the Federal Government ordered telecommunications firms to disconnect telephone lines of subscribers who failed to link their NIN to their subscriber identification modules.
No fewer than 164 million Nigerians, whose telephone lines could be disconnected on the grounds of not having the NIN, have been thronging NIMC offices, disregarding COVID-19 protocols such as wearing of face masks and social distancing.
The matter came to a head on Thursday when the NIMC workers began a strike over the fear of COVID-19 spread in the agency.
“The COVID-19 is reaching a critical level where our hospital capacity will no longer be able to cope with more serious COVID-19 cases and health workers will be forced to make tough decisions. We need to protect our more vulnerable citizens.
“We all have to take responsibility. This is not for the NCDC, the PTF or government alone. By organising large gatherings indoors, you’re not only putting yourself and guests at risk, but also the staff who have limited choice but to serve. By going to clubs, you’re putting your parents at risk.”
Ihekweazu added that the number of coronavirus cases reported in the country had been on the rise in the last four weeks.
“In the last four weeks, we‘ve recorded a spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases. The virus is spreading fast, causing mild symptoms in some and severe illness/death in others,” he tweeted.
The NCDC boss said Nigerians must note that the 100,000 persons that contracted COVID-19 in the last 11 months were not just figures but persons.
“Most important of all, the 100,000 cases and over 1,000 deaths are not just numbers. These are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children, friends whose deaths will be mourned and the pain of their loss deeply felt. The response starts and ends with the people of this country,” he said.
Speaking at the Presidential Taskforce briefing later in the day, Ihekweazu, disclosed that the centre would from next week roll out rapid diagnosis test kits in five tertiary hospitals in Abuja while the facility would be extended nationwide from February.