Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has warned that the COVID-19 pandemic is spreading fast, causing mild symptoms in some victims and severe illnesses and death in others.
Ihekweazu disclosed this at the joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja, on Monday.
While stating that the country has recorded a spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases, the NCDC DG noted that many victims have continued to experience fatigue and other symptoms even after recovery.
We have now reported over 100,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria and this is a stark reminder of the reality we live in now.
A virus that has affected over 100,000 lives and led to over 1,300 deaths within 11 months in Nigeria, with millions more globally.
We cannot be too careful. The silent face of COVID-19 with which you cannot tell whether someone has the virus or not, the only option before us is to take protective measures at all times.
Meanwhile, Ihekweazu said that healthcare workers needed now to maintain a higher index of suspicion for COVID-19.
If people were unwell, they should first rule out COVID-19 before treating malaria.
We are rolling out the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test Kits (RDTs) in five institutions in Abuja. This will increase access to testing and we then intend to roll out across the country in February.
This will make testing a lot more available to hospitals.
The NCDC boss pointed out that there was no state that was spared of COVID-19.
He pointed out:
We would have been surprised if there were, as our data suggest that we were right in saying that there is COVID circulating in every state of Nigeria and we all have to continue the hard work we have been doing.
The NCDC boss said that the country had reached “a critical level“ where the hospital capacity would no longer be able to cope with more serious COVID-19 cases and health workers would be forced to make tough decisions.