Nigeria on Thursday recorded 626 new Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, bringing total infections in the country to 27,110.
Nigeria also recorded 13 deaths, bringing the death tally to 616.
The new infections and deaths came as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has warned that younger people, ages 20 to 40, are the ones driving transmission of the virus in the country, three out of five of all who die from COVID-19 are from 50 years and above.
NCDC Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said that as inter-State travels are lifted and the airports opening next week, Nigerians should work harder to protect the elderly among us who are primarily vulnerable to the virus.
The NCDC, while reporting on the nation’s COVID-19 status on Thursday, said that Lagos State reported the highest number of new cases with 193 followed by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with 85 new infections.
The breakdown from other States include Oyo-41, Edo-38, Kwara-34, Abia-31, Ogun-29, Ondo-28, Rivers-26, Osun-21, Akwa Ibom-18, Delta-18, Enugu-15, Kaduna-13, Plateau-11, Borno-8, Bauchi-7, Adamawa-5, Gombe-4 and Sokoto-1.
Dr Ihekweazu also announced that he is personally leading a team to Cross River State, the only State in Nigeria without any COVID-19 record, to begin testing the virus among the population.
Stating that testing was the only pathway into understanding the prevalence or otherwise of the virus, the DG said by the end of next week, all States would have capacity to test for COVID-19.
On Nigeria’s target of two million tests target, Dr Ihekweazu said the goal was a collective responsibility which arose after the Africa Centre for Disease Control (CDC), in consultation with all African countries, agreed to test one per cent of each country’s population.
According to him, “this is a not a target for NCDC, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Ministry of Health alone. It a target for every Nigerian. It is either we achieve it or we come back here to say the same thing and we will be on this journey and more people will die. This target is not just an abstract or academic and it’s something that we need to push ourselves to achieve,”
Dr Ihekweazu warned the youths to be careful as the transmission dynamics of COVID-19 shows “it’s increasingly obvious that transmission among younger people really, people aged between 20 and 40, are really driving the spread of this virus. But those that are bearing the brunt of it are people age 50 and above. So, we have to work harder, all of us collectively, to protect out elderly. Why do I say this now?
“We are on the verge of opening our flights, airports. We have relaxed Intercity travels. We know that we have a family loving people and that over the next few weeks we will all start having this urge to go and visit our parents, our uncles, our aunts, restart the funeral activities that we have postponed for months, start the weddings, wine carryings (traditional weddings), birthing, baptisms that we have postponed for months.
“Yes, it’s important to do these things but remember we haven’t relaxed the guidelines of mass gatherings. So, as we plan over the next few weeks or months, we have to remember that there are still restrictions on mass gatherings. But beyond that, we really have to show our elderly citizens love and affection by not exposing them to these viruses as much as we possibly can.
“In some cases is completely impossible, many of us know very good number of people that have taken extreme care, that have been extremely careful and yet have become infected. For some people it is inevitable because of the nature of this virus, but we mustn’t contribute to increasing that risk.”
He noted that the most simple way to avoid the spread of the infections are to wear a mask, postpone travels, avoid mass gatherings always wash your hands.