Moses Emorinken, Abuja
We have quite a long way to go and we do not know how many more waves of infections ahead.”
With these words, the Lagos State government yesterday cautioned Nigerians against letting down their guard on the prevention of COVID-19 infections.
Speaking through its Health Commissioner Prof Akin Abayomi, the state said it recorded six COVID-19-related deaths and 519 cases of infection within two days.
The commissioner dropped the hint through his Facebook account @ProfAkinolaAbayomi, yesterday, while giving the state’s COVID-19 update for July 30 and July 31.
He spoke on a day the Federal Government took delivery of four million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from the United States (U.S.) to battle a third wave of infections.
The doses, which came on two planes, were received by officials from the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) on behalf of the Federal Government, according to an AFP video reporter at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.
Abayomi, who urged Nigerian to keep adhering to recommended safety protocols, said: “I hereby appeal to everyone either in Lagos or neighbouring states that COVID-19 is not yet over.
“We have quite a long way to go and we do not know how many more waves of infections ahead.
“It is therefore, important to continue to adhere to non-pharmaceutical interventions and build indigenous capacity to be less vulnerable, but be more resilient to deal with shocks.”
According to him, the elbow greeting should be adhered to as COVID-19 was a contact contagion, stressing that COVID-19 safety protocols should be strictly adhered to as practice of handshaking still poses high risk for transmission of the virus.
The commissioner said that the six additional deaths have increased the state’s COVID-19 mortality to 384.
He said that 519 new COVID-19 infections were confirmed out of the 4,437 tests conducted on July 30 and 31.
“The new infections increased the state’s total COVID-19 infections to 63, 872,” Abayomi said.
He said that there are currently 2,783 active COVID-19 cases in communities being managed under the state’s Home Based Care.
Abayomi disclosed that the number of patients receiving treatment at the state’s isolation facilities had increased from 128 to 136 persons.
He further said that 56,127 of the infected people had recovered in communities, while 4,399 had recovered in the state’s COVID-19 isolation centres.
The commissioner added that the total number of COVID-19 tests conducted in the state since inception of the pandemic stood at 607,803.
Abayomi had earlier said that the state was currently under a severe stress and strain of COVID-19 third wave with emergence of between 100 and 300 new cases daily.
He said that isolation facilities were filled up and being overstretched, necessitating creation of more spaces to accommodate patients.
Yesterday’s delivery of Moderna doses was the second batch of vaccines to arrive in Nigeria after four million doses were delivered in March under the Covax scheme.
Covax was set up to ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines, particularly to low-income countries. More than 80 million doses have been delivered to 129 territories under the scheme.
On July 15, 2021, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) approved the emergency use of three vaccines – AstraZeneca (Korea), Sputnik V (Russia) and the Moderna, which is produced by Rovi Pharma Madrid, Spain.
The Moderna vaccine, which can be stored and/or transported frozen at -25°C to -15°C for up to seven months and 30 days when stored at 2 to 8°C, protected from light, is a two dose vaccine.
Till date, five vaccines have been approved by the NAFDAC. They are AstraZeneca (India and Korea), Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, Moderna and Spunik V.
Experts worry that the highly contagious Delta variant could pose another setback to vaccine distribution. If wealthier countries begin requiring booster shots for fully-vaccinated people, it could slow shipments of urgently needed doses to developing nations.
The virus has killed 2,149 people and infected nearly 174,000 in Nigeria, but the real figures are believed to be much higher, in part because of low testing rates.
Last month, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said it had detected the Delta variant, putting officials on the alert for a third wave of infections in the country.
In June, the Federal Government barred passengers who are not citizens or permanent residents from entering the country, if they have been in South Africa in the past 14 days.
The decision followed similar restrictions imposed on travellers from Brazil, India and Turkey.
Cases COVID-19 infections have continued to increase, with 173,908 cases reported as of July 31, 2021, according to a report by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). 2,797 persons were infected with the COVID-19 virus in the last one week.
The death of 17 persons from the infection represented 79.7 per cent increase in death rate.
The recovery rate has decreased by 20.5 per cent from 258 discharged two weeks ago to 205 as of July 31.