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Apprehension over Nigeria’s increasing COVID-19 cases as foreign nations evacuate citizens

… CUPP worries over evacuation of foreign nationals

… Nigeria set to increase testing capacity for COVID-19 to 1,500 per day

There are apprehensions over the rising numbers of confirmed cases of the Coronavirus (VOCID-19) in Nigeria and the speed with which some foreign countries have begun evacuating their nationals living in Nigeria.

Nigeria has a total of 139 confirmed cases including two deaths and nine that were discharged. But the bulk of the infections were the two major bases of the diplomats and nationals, Lagos which has 82 and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), 28.

The United States Mission in Nigeria has announced the commencement of evacuation of its citizens from Nigeria.

And an Air France flight last week Thursday moved 260 Europeans from Nigeria to France to prevent them from being infected with the virus.  The Nigerian Government had granted a one-week permission, ending Wednesday, to Air France and KLM to evacuate Europeans from the country following the continued spread of the pandemic.

Also on Thursday, British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ms. Catriona Laing CB, said the mission was exploring available options to send staff and their families back to the United Kingdom.

On Sunday, Israel evacuated 274 of its citizens from Nigeria. The Israelis were evacuated via the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to Tel-Aviv, Israel.

The evacuation is a vote of no confidence in Nigeria’s health care, data and follow up operations as the diplomatic community expects that COVID-19 infections could rise to more than 10,000 in the coming weeks. They insist that there are at least 5,000 persons who had already come in contact with infected persons in Nigeria already. 

They reason that this category of persons may had gone ahead to mingle with thousands of others in the society without realising that they had the virus.

But Western diplomats, worried that with the current and “abysmal way the Nigerian Government was handling the Coronavirus outbreak, the number of infections could witness a significant rise in the coming weeks,” started evacuating their nationals from Nigeria and other African countries. 

But Director General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, allays such fears, saying that Nigeria is set to increase its capacity to test for COVID-19 to 1500 per day.

He stated on Tuesday in Abuja at the Presidential Taskforce Briefing on COVID-19, that the focus of NCDC efforts was to improve the number of people that could be tested.  

“Last week, we had the capacity to test 500 per day. By the end of this week we will be at 1,000 a day. By next week we are hoping to get to 1500 a day.“

Meanwhile the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has expresses worry over the evacuation of foreign nationals from Nigeria in the face of coronavirus pandemic.

The coalition in a statement by the spokesperson, Ikenga Ugochinyere, noted that the United States of America (USA) and other western nations have evacuated “their citizens out of Nigeria that has 131 confirmed coronavirus infected persons back to their home countries that have over 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases with thousands of death.”

Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has expresses worry over the evacuation of foreign nationals from Nigeria in the face of coronavirus pandemic.

The coalition in a statement by the spokesperson, Ikenga Ugochinyere, noted that the United States of America (USA) and other western nations have evacuated “their citizens out of Nigeria that has 131 confirmed coronavirus infected persons back to their home countries that have over 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases with thousands of death.”

CUPP wondered whether this could have been based on credible intelligence report that the Nigerian government was not doing enough “or that our 131 number might not be the reality on ground and that the virus is now on the loose.”

It therefore urged the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Health Ministry to do more testing, contact tracing and proactive isolation. 

The coalition recommended to the three tiers of government to explore the South African option of compulsory door-to-door testing for all citizens. 

“We must do our part by staying at home, while government should source for funds to support citizens and also procure more equipment and manpower to conduct door-to-door testing,” CUPP advised.

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