Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered virus—most people infected with the disease experience mild to moderate symptoms and recovery after treatment. However, the condition has resulted in the death of many people in Nigeria and the world at large. The most common symptoms of the disease include fever, dry cough, and tiredness. In contrast, the less common symptoms are pains, sore throat, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, headache, loss of taste or smell, a rash on the skin, and discoloration of fingers or toes. Coronavirus cases in Nigeria date back to the 27th of February 2020 when the first case was reported. The case was that of an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned from Milan, Italy, to Lagos. He tested positive for the disease and was admitted and treated at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos. After that, through the Federal Ministry of Health, the Government of Nigeria put up measures to ensure an outbreak in Nigeria was controlled and contained quickly. This move was complemented by tracing contacts of the patient from the first day he got to Nigeria. Meanwhile, many other cases have been reported despite the effort of the Government at curtailing the virus.
Data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control as of 26th of September 2020 showed the total number of coronavirus cases in Nigeria to be 58 198, with 49 722 discharged and 1106 fatalities. This table below summarises the confirmed cases as well as recoveries in Nigeria
Table showing coronavirus cases and recoveries in Nigeria (After Nigeria Centre For Disease Control)
Chart showing coronavirus cases in Nigeria (After Nigeria Centre For Disease Control)
The chart above suggests that the peak season occurred in June, and since then, there has been a reduction in coronavirus cases in Nigeria. The low number of cases reported can be attributed to the restriction of vehicular and human movement in total lockdown and curfew imposed on some states with alarming figures. For instance, Lagos, Ogun, and Abuja, which had the highest number of coronavirus cases in Nigeria, were locked down in April by the Federal Government of Nigeria. Critical measures such as wearing masks in public places, washing hands, sanitizer, and social distancing were enforced. Serious attention was also given to testing with identified cases being isolated for immediate and comprehensive treatment. The supportive roles played by State Governments and Non-Governmental agencies cannot be overemphasized. Some citizens were given palliatives to sustain them while staying at home. Essential workers such as Doctors, Nurses, Security Agents, and Journalists were encouraged to be at work to make all hands to be on deck at combating the pandemic. With these steps taken, the number of coronavirus cases in Nigeria reduced, which paved the way for the lockdown’s gradual ease.
However, the number of coronavirus cases in Nigeria could be on the rise with partial and zero adherence to individuals and organizations’ precautionary measures. For instance, a typical action plays out in most public places such as banks where customers seek to access banking halls cluster outside. Simultaneously, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control has rolled out a public health advisory and sensitization campaigns to inform people about the need to practice social distancing and encourage personal hygiene. It may be difficult in low-income communities and internally displaced camps where people live in crowded places with little or no access to basic amenities like water. The total lifting of the lockdown that authorizes people to gather for any event could portend a spike in Nigeria’s coronavirus cases. A situation whereby many people gather for a party may be an invitation to the spread of the virus. Many public transport people have noticed to have thrown caution to the wind when wearing face masks.
Moreover, schools reopening is another channel increase in Nigeria’s coronavirus cases that may experience. In primary schools, pupils may be unable to observe social distancing and take other precautionary measures religiously as suggested by controlling body for infectious disease in Nigeria due to their playful and carefree attitude. In general, the likelihood of the spread among students is very high because of the easy physical contacts they make with themselves while in class or hostel. As expected, the students would engage in contact sports and gather for assembly, which may be another avenue for transmitting the novel virus.
Resumption of an international flight is another gateway to the new wave of coronavirus cases in Nigeria, especially with a reported hike in Europe, India, the United States of America, and Brazil. While it is good to open up the economy by allowing movement of people in and out of the country and reducing the aviation sector’s financial tension, the risk of an increase in Nigeria’s coronavirus cases must be considered even though safety regulations observed. There is a need to recall that the first case of the disease was imported into the country, which could be a source of reintroducing the virus to Nigeria.
In conclusion, like other countries globally, Nigeria has had its fair share of coronavirus cases, which, according to projection, should soar and become unmanageable. The relevant authorities’ approach arrested the situation and prevented it from getting out of hand. Meanwhile, there are strong indications that the country is not out of the woods yet. It may be too early to assume that Nigeria has defeated the pandemic because of the few cases around its citizens’ attitude, bringing back the virus. Coronavirus cases in Nigeria have not soared, but that could change if people refuse to choose safety precautions. Such as social distancing, washing of hands, sanitizer, wearing face masks, and getting quarantined for fourteen days when they returned from countries with a high number of coronavirus cases.